Osborne promises Whitehall cuts in lieu of tax hikes or benefit cuts
Chancellor George Osborne has announced that seven government departments have provisionally agreed to make budget cuts in spending of up to 10% by 2015, enabling the Chancellor to protect spending on front line services.
The seven departments include the Ministry of Justice, the Department for Communities and Local Government, the Department for Energy and Climate Change, HM Treasury, the Cabinet Office, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and the Northern Ireland Office.
Speaking to the Guardian, Mr Osborne expressed the need to follow recent welfare reforms by reducing internal spending. He said: “Now we can look at the savings in Whitehall, in government, in bureaucracy, and we’re setting out how these seven government departments are going to find savings.”
By making cuts of up to 10%, amounting to £11.5 billion by 2015, it’s thought the government can secure spending on front line services such as the NHS, and education, without the need to increase taxation or revisit welfare.
However, in a bid to make an additional £8 billion in departmental cuts, Mr Osborne remains engaged in discussions with other departments, including the Home Office and the Ministry of Defence.
Shadow treasury minister Chris Leslie, a thorough sceptic, remains concerned by the Chancellor’s core methodology in addressing the financial concerns. Mr Leslie spoke with BBC News regarding the economic stagnancy.
“We know that the deficit was £121 billion last year, and it’s going to be £121 billion this year, so the deficit reduction plan has completely stalled,” he said. He added that George Osborne should instead be focusing on “getting growth moving.”
The Comprehensive Spending Review, and a more solid guarantee, is expected in late June.