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Communities department agrees ‘substantial’ further budget cuts

The Department for Communities & Local Government (DCLG) is one of seven Whitehall ministries to have reached agreement with the Treasury over further cuts to its budget for the 2015-16 financial year, thought to total around 10%. 

The Chancellor said this morning that 20% of the £11.5bn in cuts he wants departments to make in the year from April 2015 have been agreed. Health, schools and international development continue to be protected from the axe.

The Government has clarified that the settlement reached with DCLG does not relate to direct local government funding, however, which is negotiated separately. 

Extra cuts have also been agreed by the Ministry of Justice, Foreign Office and the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC), as well as the Cabinet Office, Northern Ireland department and the Treasury itself, it is reported .

But the MoD, Home Office and Defra are among those reported to be at loggerheards with chancellor George Osborne in the negotiations over further savings. Osborne has said he would not agree to any cuts that put people’s safety at risk “at home or abroad”. Some senior Conservatives want more of the burden to fall on the welfare budget rather than departmental allocations – but their Lib Dem Coalition colleagues say the poorest have already had to withstand enough, and that free perks enjoyed by wealthier pensioners should be targeted instead.

Osborne suggested in an interview with Radio 4’s Today programme this morning that he was not seeking any further cuts to welfare beyond those already announced for the 2015/16 year.

Communities secretary Eric Pickles, pictured above, was said in newspaper reports over the weekend to be holding out against further cuts, with his department having already lost 40% of its civil servants and local authorities already reeling from cuts. Osborne said in the Today interview, however, that the report got it wrong.

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(Image: DCLG)


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