THE GOVERNMENT department of Horsham’s Conservative MP Francis Maude has spent £8.5m having his Whitehall headquarters refurbished, it was revealed this week.
Last month Mr Maude said cutting 43,000 civil service job cuts has contributed to the Government saving £5bn in the past 12 months.
But figures released by the Cabinet Office reveal he has meanwhile allowed millions of pounds of taxpayers’ money to be spent on overhauling his department building since the election in May 2010.
Work to the Grade-I listed building, also used by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg, has been called a ‘ludicrous waste of taxpayers’ money’ by shadow cabinet office minister Jon Trickett.
He told a national newspaper: “Only last week Francis Maude claimed to possess an unwavering determination to keep eradicating waste in Whitehall. If this is so, why is he spending millions refurbishing a single building owned by his department?
“This is more evidence of the vast gap between the Government’s rhetoric and the reality of its policies. This Government is not serious about efficiency which would protect necessary frontline services. This is a ludicrous waste of taxpayers’ money.”
It is understood the money went towards making the building greener by installing insulation, light sensors and secondary glazing, as well as improving disabled access.
A Cabinet Office spokesman told the same newspaper the refurbishment could save money by enabling more civil servants to move into the building from other departments.
He said: “Our plan to reduce the locations staff are based in will save the taxpayer at least £100m. By investing money up front in modernising our historic office at 70 Whitehall, we can quickly start moving people out of other buildings and save money faster.”
The County Times asked Mr Maude for a comment, but had not received a reply before going to press.