Billionaire Green to Lead Efficiency Review of U.K. Spending

Aug. 13 (Bloomberg) -- Philip Green, the billionaire owner of Arcadia Group Ltd., will lead an external efficiency review into U.K. government spending, the Cabinet Office said.

Green, who will be supported by officials from the Cabinet Office and the Treasury, has been asked to examine all government spending in the past three years and identify inefficiencies and potential savings, according to an e-mailed statement. His remit includes a review of all leases and contracts entered into since 2007.

“We are extremely fortunate to have Sir Philip, with his immense commercial experience and of course his fantastic track record at managing large organizations, on board,” Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude said in the statement. “Sir Philip has made clear to the government the importance of his business remit which has always been that efficient operating is different from cost cutting and removing jobs.”

Prime Minister David Cameron’s coalition government has pledged to make savings of 6.2 billion pounds ($9.7 billion) this year in a bid to cut the largest budget deficit since World War II. It is examining more than 60,000 suggestions made by public-sector workers after an appeal for ideas of where government services can be more efficient.

Green, whose company owns the Topshop, Dorothy Perkins and Burton brands, said his government role has the support of Arcadia Chief Executive Officer Ian Grabiner and their experience of procurement across the U.K. will help in the assessment of government spending.

“I will give this efficiency review my very best effort knowing how hugely important it is to the recovery of the country,” Green said. “I want to help focus, motivate and energize to achieve these efficiency savings.  It is these actions that will re-start growth in the U.K.”

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