A 10 per cent cut in non-frontline NHS staff is one of 34 measures mooted by the Institute of Directors and the Tax Payers’ Alliance to cut the public debt by £50 billion.

The two groups have called for the reduction or removal of “unproductive” items of government expenditure in a bid to combat the UK’s debt crisis.

Other measures designed to address the “dire state” of public finances include a freeze on the state pension, abolition of the identity card scheme and a 10 per cent reduction in the size of the civil service.

Institute of Directors director general Miles Templeman said: “Any cut in spending naturally has the potential for some pain, but our list shows that large sums can be saved without hurting vital services.

“We hope this will start a serious public debate about the best ways money can be saved and whether the state needs to withdraw from certain activities it can no longer afford.”

Other targets for spending rethinks include restricting free bus passes for the elderly and disabled to those who genuinely need them, the abolition of child benefit and the child trust fund while increasing child tax credit, and the abolition of free TV licences.