Time for paper cuts: Govt overspending on A4

Government departments are still overspending on basic items such as paper, according to new research published today.

A report from the TaxPayers' Alliance revealed the Department for Business paid the most for a standard box of A4 paper, with civil servants spending £12.43 for 2,500 sheets.

That figure is £3.50 more than the Department for Health, which is the most efficient department. The disparity in the figures suggests government departments are still failing to communicate best deals with each other, despite the job losses taking place across Whitehall.

Most departments paid well over £2 more per box of A4 paper than the Department of Health.

"It is especially dispiriting that the Department for Business – a department which ought to be championing the cause of efficiency and cutting out waste – comes out so badly in this latest research," said TaxPayers' Alliance chief executive Matthew Sinclair.

"Those running departments need to be able to show that they can keep costs down on smaller items of expenditure if people are to have faith that they can secure the best deals when it comes to multi-million pound projects."

The Department for Business also paid the most for its energy costs, shelling out an average of £110 per megawatt hour.

The Department for Transport, the Department for Education and the Home Office all paid over £50 per megawatt hour more for their energy than the best performing department, the Ministry of Defence. It paid £34 per megawatt hour of energy.