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26 June 2013 | Adam Leach
All but three Whitehall departments saw their budgets for 2015/16 slashed by more than 5 per cent today as the government outlined plans to reduce overall spending for the year by £11.5 billion.
Under the plans, announced in the House of Commons by the chancellor of the exchequer, total managed expenditure from across central government for the year will be £745 billion. To reach this target, departmental heads and ministers have agreed to deliver significant efficiency savings in running costs, with some departments facing double-digit cuts to their budgets.
Giving his statement, chancellor George Osborne, said: “The decisions we take today are not easy and these are difficult times. But with this statement we make more progress towards an economy that prospers, a state we can afford, a deficit coming down, and a Britain on the rise.”
He revealed that the resource budget of his own department, Treasury, will be cut by 10 per cent. There will also be a 9.5 per cent cut to the Department for Work and Pensions, a 10 per cent cut to both the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and the Department for Communities and Local Government and a cut of 8 per cent for the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. Spending on policing and justice will be cut by more than 6 per cent, with pressure applied to police services to make greater use of shared services.
Both the Department of Health and Department for Education emerged relatively unscathed, with the chancellor announcing a 0.01 per cent increase in the NHS budget and an increase in the education budget from £52.8 billion to £53.2 billion. The Ministry of Defence saw its resource budget frozen at £24 billion a year, though its equipment budget will increase by 1 per cent.