Asset sales and property savings are among £6n of planned cuts to administrative budgets, announced today by chancellor George Osborne.

Speaking to the House of Commons, Osborne said the government would look towards “squeezing every last penny” from central government budgets in order to cut administrative spending by one third.

As part of the Comprehensive Spending Review, he said that the Cabinet Office, led by Francis Maude, had managed to find £6bn in administrative savings. This is twice the targeted level of savings announced in May’s Emergency Budget.

He also said the government would put £1bn into a green investment bank, which was trailed by the Labour government in previous budgets.

He praised the review of spending waste published by Sir Philip Green last week and said that the Treasury would lead by example through moving Cabinet Office staff into the Treasury’s “enormously expensive” headquarters, which was funded by the private finance initiative model.

The Cabinet Office’s budget would be reduced by £55bn in the next four years. Assets that could be sold include the Queen Elizabeth II Conference Centre and the Channel Tunnel.

Osborne also said that capital spending budgets for energy and transport projects would be saved from the worst of the cuts. He said infrastructure was one of four “priorities” for the country in future, and projects that were vital to economic growth would be maintained.

Introducing the long-awaited spending review, Osborne said: “To back down now and abandon our plans would be the road to economic ruin. Spending reductions rather than tax rises need to make up the bulk of the deficit reduction.”

He said that each government department would next month publish their own detailed spending plans.

 

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