Government Departments told to draw up 40% cuts plans
George Osborne has launched his spending review with a call for £20bn cuts to Whitehall budgets. The Government has ring-fenced the NHS, international development, defence and parts of education, meaning departments such as communities and local government are expected to face significant cuts. Each unprotected department has been asked to come up with savings plans of 25% and 40% of their budget. The FT’s leader reflects on the impact of the cuts so far. It argues that Mr Osborne’s tough approach has forced councils to innovate and rationalise, merging their back offices and their frontline operations. It acknowledges that vulnerable groups are feeling the pain, but at the same time suggests there is little if any polling evidence to suggest rising public dissatisfaction with the services that councils provide.