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DfT faces massive spending cuts

Chancellor George Osborne has hacked into the spending power of the Department for Transport (DfT).

Osborne said the DfT was one of four government departments that had agreed to cut their revenue spending by an average of 30% over the next four years.

His announcement comes ahead of the 25 November spending review, when the government will outline spending plans for the rest of this parliament.

The chancellor insisted the latest budget cuts would not impact on the £100bn infrastructure spend promised last week.

“I can report to you that – with the support of my brilliant colleague Greg Hands, the chief secretary to the Treasury – we have reached provisional agreement on the spending plans of four government departments,” said Osborne.

As well as the DfT, the deal applies to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the Department for Communities and Local Government, and the Treasury.

“The resource spending – that is the day-to-day spending of those four departments – will be cut by 30% on average in total over the next four years,” said Osborne.

“These savings will be achieved by a combination of further efficiencies in departments, closing low value programmes, and focusing on our priorities as a country.”

He insisted the cuts did not apply to capital spending.

“As I set out last week at the launch of the National Infrastructure Commission, we will continue to invest in the things that make our economy more productive,” Osborne said.

“We will spend £100bn on our infrastructure over the parliament – updating our roads and railways; investing in flood defences to protect our homes and businesses; and delivering superfast broadband across the country.”

Further details of how the departments will achieve their spending cuts, and what they will spend their capital budgets on, will be revealed at the spending review.

The ICE called in September for the ministers to protect infrastructure spending and to include cash for maintenance and repairs in initial budgeting.

Readers' comments (3)

  • Cancel HS2 and it might be possible maintain some kind of status quo for the existing infrastructure in this country.

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  • Philip Alexander

    Couldn't agree more with David. HS2 is the most wasteful, ego-driven vanity project I have ever seen in my 45 years as a civil engineer. What on earth is the point in taking 15 minutes off a journey to Birmingham for the benefit of the few who will be able to afford to use it when you could spend a fraction of the cost to upgrade the alternatives for the benefit of everyone? It is like something that a corrupt head of a banana republic would do. Cameron and Osborne should be ashamed of themselves. The real scandal is the lack of a robust cost estimate for the works because it is obvious that the figure of £42bn has been plucked out of the air. The real cost will be double, believe me.

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  • Putting this article with the "Infrastructure Black Hole" one dated 6th November, it is clear that infrastructure spending priorities must be set sensibly. I just hope that those making these decisions will NOT be using the "bigger - faster - wider" criteria.

    It is time to think what spending will be best value for the Country as a whole in terms of cost effectiveness and sustainability.

    Vanity projects should not be publicly funded.

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