Chief secretary to the Treasury David Laws has announced that the Department for Transport is to cut £683M in spending as part of the new coalition government’s pledge to tackle Britain’s debt with £6bn of instant savings.
Laws said the cuts, totalling slightly more than £6.2bn, excluded health, overseas aid and defence. These departments will be allowed to “recycle” their savings. Schools have also been protected from cuts, meaning other departments have been hit harder.
The Department’s of Energy and Climate Change and Environment, Food and Rural Affairs have to make smaller cuts of £85M and £162M.
Laws said the action was designed to send a “shockwave” through government departments to make them think seriously about all spending.
Fees paid to consultants will be specifically targeted, Laws said. “Low priority expenditure” will also be axed.
Overall, he said he expected £1.15bn of savings in discressionary areas such as consultancy, advertising and transport, further savings in quangos, property costs and IT and £1.7bn from major projects - both proposed and ongoing.
Devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will have to save £704M, but these savings can be deferred until next year.