Five ministers cut early deal with Treasury

FIVE?departments have agreed budget cuts with the Treasury ahead of the comprehensive spending review (CSR), as the government gears up for the toughest fiscal tightening in Britain’s peacetime history.

The foreign office, cabinet office and the Treasury itself have all reached early agreements on cuts. The department for communities and local government and the environment department have also cut an early settlement with the Treasury. The CSR?will take place on 20 October.

Foreign secretary William Hague and cabinet office minster Francis Maude will now join George Osborne and chief Treasury to the secretary Danny Alexander in a “star chamber” to assess other department’s spending plans. Communities secretary Eric Pickles and environment secretary Caroline Spelman are also expected to sit in the chamber.

Most government departments will have to slash their budgets by around 25 per cent in real terms over the next five years as part of spending cuts announced in the chancellor’s emergency budget in June.

The five departments have relatively low annual spending compared to ministries like defence, transport and welfare, where a much fiercer battle is likely.