Chancellor George Osborne has revealed that the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) will be among seven government departments subjected to spending cuts as the coalition looks to save billions of pounds over the next three years.
Mr Osborne has targeted £11.5 billion in savings by 2015/16 in order to cut the government deficit, and announced that he has so far earmarked more than £2 billion of this, though it will involve cutting back funding for many Whitehall departments.
Bearing the brunt
He told the BBC that the DECC will bear the brunt of the cuts alongside the departments for justice and communities, the Cabinet Office, the Treasury, the Foreign Office and Northern Ireland.
Each department has agreed to budget reductions of between 8% and 12%, he added, though the chancellor did not elaborate on which has been hit hardest by the cuts.
As well as reducing the nation’s debt, the savings can also mean that other areas such as the health service can receive greater investment, he elaborated.
“The fact we have got big departments like the Ministry of Justice signed up to 10% reductions shows we are on track and there is a cabinet will behind delivering these necessary savings,” he said.
“This will enable us to get this deficit down and also, crucially, spend money where I think the public want it spent, which is on things like the NHS and on the kind of infrastructure … which helps create jobs.”
Progress being made
According to Mr Osborne, he is making excellent progress towards his goal of an £11.5 billion spending reduction by 2016, adding that no other chancellor has agreed and unveiled so many plans ahead of a spending review.
This review is set to take place on June 26th, when the government will reveal its plans for the spending period that will take it up to the next general election (in May 2015) and beyond.
The chancellor has vowed that health, schools and foreign aid will be protected from cuts, though the departments earmarked for reductions – including the DECC – are now set for a period of uncertainty.