Spending Cuts: Where the £6.2bn hits construction

Grant Prior 14 years ago

Social housing and education contractors received a welcome boost as Chancellor George Osborne launched his first wave of public spending cuts.

Osborne has taken the axe to every government department and started his “bonfire of the quangos” in a bid to slash waste.

The £6.2bn of cuts is just the start of the government’s bid to reduce the nation’s £156bn budget deficit.

Deeper cuts are expected in the Chancellor’s first budget on June 22 and the public spending review later in the year.

The first round concentrates on saving cash by freezing civil service recruitment and slashing budgets spent on day-to-day operations by departments.

Osborne said that £1.7bn of contracts with current suppliers to the government would be stopped or delayed to allow rates to be negotiated down.

But some of the savings will be reinvested with £170m going towards 4,000 social homes, £50m towards further education college capital spending and £150m on kick-starting apprenticeship programmes.

Contractors were braced for this first round of cuts but the real pain for the industry will be felt in the budget and spending review.

One contractor told the Enquirer: “This first round is all about cutting waste at Whitehall but we don’t want to lose all the development quangos because some of them do a real job.

“This is the government getting its own house in order before it starts the really painful stuff.

“The housing and education cash is an unexpected bonus but we’ll have to see if that really is new money and how it fits with cuts later in the year.”

The main areas highlighted for cuts are:

• £1.15bn in “discretionary” areas such as consultancy and travel costs

• £95m through savings in IT spending

• £1.7bn will be saved in delaying or stopping government contracts and projects

• Reductions in property costs will save £170m

• More than £120m expected to be found through a freeze in civil service recruitment

• £600m by cutting the cost of quangos

• £520m will be saved through other low-value spending

The savings expected on a department-by-department basis are:

Dept business: £836m

DCLG: £780m

Dept Transport: £683m

Education dept: £670m

Dept work pensions: £535m

Chancellor’s Dept: £451m

Local govt: £405m

Home Office: £367m

Mins of Justice: £325m

Devolved admins: £704m

DEFRA: £162m

Dept for Energy: £85m

Culture dept: £88m

Cabinet Office: £79m

Foreign Office: £55m

Law officers’ dept: £18m

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