Retail king turns gaze on government

By staff

Retail giant Sir Philip King has been placed in charge of an external efficiency review of government spending.

Staff from the Treasury and the Cabinet Office are being made available to assist Sir Philip as he brings his considerable business experience to bear on Whitehall.

He will assess whether government contracts and leases since 2007 offer value for money and will report back before the end of the spending review, which is due for completion on October 20th.

“I believe that our shared experience in the procurement of many goods and services, across a broad geographical area of the UK, will enable us to have important benchmarked information which will be extremely useful,” Sir Philip said.

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

Sir Philip’s strong presence in the UK clothing market, which covers the Arcadia group including Burton, Dorothy Perkins and Miss Selfridge, also controls BHS and Topshop.

The coalition government believes his cost-cutting experience will prove invaluable as ministers seek to cut at least 25% off most departmental budgets.

“We are extremely fortunate to have Sir Philip, with his immense commercial experience and of course his fantastic track record at managing large organisations, on board,” Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude said.

“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.”