Star chamber will work with ministers on reducing budgets

THE chancellor is planning to overhaul the way the comprehensive spending review is carried out by creating a new “star chamber” that will question ministers over their departmental budgets.

City A.M. understands the chamber will be staffed by “big beasts” like Ken Clarke and William Hague, who will test the spending decisions of their colleagues.

It is hoped that the more collegiate way of working will end the internecine warfare that characterised spending reviews under Labour.

When Gordon Brown was chancellor, cabinet ministers were given yearly spending totals and effectively told to “like it or lump it”. Under this technique, the government hopes ministers themselves will help identify potential spending reductions.