Osborne agrees cuts with half of Whitehall

17 Nov 15

A total of 11 Whitehall departments have now agreed provisional Spending Review deals with the Treasury, Chancellor George Osborne announced, but the real-terms reductions in spending agreed so far are slightly below targets set in July.

In a speech at Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) in Cheltenham, Osborne also announced that he would prioritise security in his Spending Review following the terrorist attacks in Paris.

He committed to increasing spending on cyber security to £1.9 billion by 2020 and hiring 1,900 new staff across the three intelligence agencies and the first National Cyber Centre.

Confirming that provisional spending deals to 2019/20 had been reached with seven more departments – Energy and Climate Change, Work and Pensions, Revenue and Customs, the Cabinet Office and the Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland offices – Osborne said the country needed economic security.

These departments join communities and local government, transport, environment, food & rural affairs and the Treasury itself in reaching settlements.

“Over half of the Whitehall departments have now reached provisional agreements on their resource budgets,” he stated.

Combined, these departments will on average see a reduction in real-terms spending of 24% by 2019/20. However, this is below the two levels of reductions Osborne asked departments to prepare for – 25% and 40%.

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