Chancellor George Osborne will wield the axe in Whitehall and make massive cuts in four departments

Lauren Fedor
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The chancellor is set to make deep cuts across several government departments, including the Treasury (Source: Getty)

Chancellor George Osborne will today pre-empt his upcoming comprehensive spending review (CSR) by revealing massive cuts to four government departments.

The department for transport, department for local government and communities, the department for environment, food and rural affairs and the Treasury will all come under the axe, the chancellor will announce, saying he has agreed “provisional settlements” with the departments to cut their spending by about one-third between now and the end of the decade.

“The resource spending – that is the day to day spending of those four departments – will be cut by, on average, eight per cent a year for the next four years,” Osborne will say in a speech in London.

The Treasury said Osborne will lay out further details of cuts to government spending at the Spending Review in two weeks, on 25 November.

The government first announced plans for a CSR in July, promising that the review would spell out how the government would achieve £20bn in savings in order to meet its goal of eliminating the national deficit by the end of the parliament.

While further deep cuts have long been expected – over the summer, the chancellor wrote to ministers asking them to lay out what cuts of 25 per cent and 40 per cent would look like for their departments – Osborne will again today defend his deficit-reduction plan.

“There is no economic security, there is no national security, there is no opportunity, when you lose control of the public finances,” he will say, adding, “It is only when you control spending, and live within your means, that you can build a country with security and opportunity at its heart.”

“There is still so much more to do – we are still spending too much,” Osborne will add. “That’s why, at the Spending Review, we will meet the democratic mandate we were given by the British people this year: to bring the deficit down, finish the job and get Britain back into surplus.”

Prime Minister David Cameron, who will speak this morning at the Confederation of British Industry (CBI) annual conference, will back the chancellor’s announcement, saying: “By finishing the job of repairing our finances, we are able to provide economic security for working families at every stage of their lives, we are able to protect our national security and we are able to extend opportunity to all.”

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