Spending Review: 33% cut in admin budgets and “best practice” travel policy

Chancellor of the Exchequer George OsborneCentral government departments face cuts of 34% in their administrative budgets, Chancellor George Osborne has announced.

In today’s Comprehensive Spending Review, the Chancellor said he was taking “decisive action to cut the cost of central government, with a 34 per cent cut in administration budgets across the whole of Whitehall and its Arms Length Bodies, saving £5.9 billion a year by 2014-15.” The cuts are intended to bridge the deficit between Government receipts and spending.

The DCLG and Defra will take the biggest hits to their budgets. Communities will see its programme and administration budget shrink by 51% in real terms by 2014-15, while Defra’s will shrink by 29%.

Focusing on travel, the Chancellor announced that the Government plans to implement travel policies “in line with industry best practice” in order to save £100 million a year.

The Prime Minister will also take fewer charter flights in a bid to save money on travel.

Osborne announced: “There will be a reduction of 25 per cent across the period in the costs of providing support to the Prime Minister, including reducing travel costs through the use of more scheduled flights where possible rather than charters.”

Osborne also said the Review included ideas taken from the Spending Challenge earlier this year when he asked for suggestions on how the Government could save money. One idea that will be taken forward is to “initiate a programme to centralise the procurement of commonly used goods and services, bringing efficiency gains of over £400 million a year”, he told the House.

Several key transport infrastructure projects have survived the Review including Crossrail, the Mersey Gateway bridge, widening of the A11 and the M1 to reduce congestion and £6 billion in upgrades and capital maintenance on the London Underground network

Osborne said the Government would issue a business plan later this year outlining its plans in detail, which will include actions and deadlines for implementing reforms over the next two years.

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