Ex-Balfour boss to push down state spending

FORMER Balfour Beatty chief executive Ian Tyler will this morning be unveiled as one of six business leaders appointed by the coalition to help hammer down the cost of government contracts.

Bill Crothers, Whitehall’s chief procurement officer, told City A.M. that private sector knowledge is needed because some civil servants do not have the experience to get a good deal for the taxpayer on “eye-wateringly big” contracts.

“It is widely acknowledge that the commercial ability within the civil service needs to improve,” he said. “If we do £1bn of business with a chief executive on long-term contracts, we want to negotiate savings.

“We should be their best customer: we pay fast, we’ve got a brilliant credit rating, and we should be getting the best terms. We don’t.”

Crothers also said he favoured a stronger link between the pay of civil servants who work on procurement deals and the amount they save the taxpayer.

Other “crown representatives” to be unveiled today include Rob Wilmot, a co-founder of internet provider Freeserve.