THE GOVERNMENT has been accused of wasting taxpayers money after spending more than £1 billion on consultants and temporary staff.
The powerful Public Accounts Committee of MPs claimed the figure was evidence that Government departments do not have the right plans in place to recruit the staff they need.
They have also raised concerns that the large number of temporary staff being paid through personal service companies rather than pay-as-you-earn means there is a greater risk they are not paying the correct tax.
In its report, published today, the committee says spending on temporary staff has risen by 90 per cent in the last four years and “specialist temporary staff often cost twice as much as permanent staff”.
Committee chairman Meg Hillier said: “Public services are under huge pressure from budget cuts yet taxpayers’ money continues to be wasted because of poor workforce planning.
“Funds that could be spent on services are instead going to pay costly and avoidable bills for staffing. This is simply not good enough.
“There is a place for buying in expert advice and using temporary staff if there is a skills gap but departments first need to be sure they do not have access to these skills in-house. Getting this wrong costs the taxpayer dear.
“Filling permanent roles with temporary staff is short-sighted and does nothing to address underlying skills shortages in the civil service, nor to develop its expertise.
“When temps leave, valuable experience leaves with them.”
The Government’s 17 main departments together spend around £17 billion a year on staff.