17 Oct 2010

George Osborne promises to see spending cuts through

The axeman cometh and the cuts are already being revealed: child benefit for over-16s cut, the building of new affordable housing virtually stops and new aircraft carriers will sail without any jets.

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne arrives in Downing Street on October 13, 2010 in London, England. The Government's comprehensive spending review is due to be announced to the House

Appearing on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show the Chancellor said he was determined to press on with his spending cuts, expected to be the most savage since the Second World War.

The Chancellor will announce cuts of £83bn on Wednesday as he aims to reduce the UK’s structural deficit by 2015.

Key areas such as healthcare, schools and early years education have already been ring fenced but it is anticipated the biggest axe will fall on welfare payments and the government’s own wastage.

He said: “The priority has been to target waste and welfare, to invest in our healthcare, to have real increases in our school budgets and to invest in the things that are going to make our economy strong.

“We have got to make some tough decisions but the priority is healthcare, children’s education, early years provision – particularly for some of our poorest – and the big infrastructure developments like Crossrail, Mersey Gateway, the synchrotron, broadband.

“Those things are actually going to get us out of this stronger and able to pay our way in the world.”

Faisal Islam analysis on spending cuts:
The deal is done.

The most extensive programme of government cuts since the 1920s was signed off at Chequers today by the 'quad' - that is the PM, Chancellor, Deputy PM and the Chief Secretary.

Here are some of the headlines:

Massive cuts to welfare. The Chancellor talked last month about £4bn extra, in addition to the £11bn announced at the Budget. That £4bn is now 'markedly' larger, with one government insider suggesting 'seven or eight billion'.

Expect a restriction on the age to child benefit to 16-years-old, though slightly mitigated in some way.

Expect the tax credit system to be fundamentally reduced in scope and generosity. These savings can not and will not be just about targeting middle class welfare. The poor will be hit.

In theory that should allow the average cut in non protected departments to come closer to 21-22 pe cent than the 25 per cent announced at the June Budget.

Happy days? Well not at all.

Read more on Faisal Islam's blog

When asked if he would be deterred by estimations that the cuts could see a million people out of work he said that the UK has to see this through. He said:

“People in this country know we were on the brink of bankruptcy, and if we are going to have growth and jobs in the future we have got to move this country into a place where people can invest with confidence.”

When asked about the defence cuts, and in particular the suggestion that we could have two new aircraft carriers but with no aircraft to fly them (referring to the possible cut of the British Harrier fleet), Osborne promised that the aircraft carriers would “live up to their name.”