State spends €2bn on consultants

The government spent €2bn on external advisors and consultants in 2006, according to official figures reported in Wednesday’s AD.

Of that, some €800m went on information technology services and €400m on ‘policy-supporting research’. The state spent a further €650m hiring in extra staff, the AD says.
It is the first time detailed figures have been drawn up on how much the government spends on outside experts and personnel.
MPs immediately demanded home affairs minister Guusje ter Horst explain the figures. ‘This is a huge amount of money. I want to know exactly what they do,’ Liberal (VVD) MP Brigitte van der Burg told the paper.
‘It is a ridiculous amount. In the past, civil service jobs were cut, but they seem to have been replaced by expensive consultants,’ Socialist MP Ronald van Raak was reported as saying.
The government is planning to shed a further 12,800 civil service jobs.
Former politician turned academic Roel in ‘t Veld told the AD the state was becoming increasingly dependent on outsiders. ‘Every year the cabinet is told by politicians to reduce the civil service apparatus but they are not willing to reduce the number of jobs they do. On the contrary, these jobs are becoming more complicated,’ he said.

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