Brown 'to axe 80,000 civil service jobs' in spending review

Click to follow
Indy Politics

Gordon Brown will today announce a big increase in spending on national security, including a boost for the budgets of the intelligence services, counter terrorism and the police, in a spending review in which thousands of civil-service jobs will be shed.

Gordon Brown will today announce a big increase in spending on national security, including a boost for the budgets of the intelligence services, counter terrorism and the police, in a spending review in which thousands of civil-service jobs will be shed.

The Chancellor will also unveil a large increase in the budget for science and technology to put Britain at the forefront of research. And there will be a boost for Britain's overseas aid budget to combat poverty and Aids in the developing world.

But, in a notoriously tight Whitehall spending round, the Chancellor will "ruthlessly" focus on the Government's key priorities, including fighting terrorism, at the expense of other Whitehall departments such a culture and the environment.

Transport is expected to receive more cash to pay for much-needed improvements in the rail system. But other departments such as Defence and Trade and Industry will have to cut civil-service jobs in return for more funds.

The Chancellor has already announced that health and education will be big winners and other Whitehall departments have been competing with one another in a frantic spending round which has included eleventh hour negotiations.

The Ministry of Defence is expected to receive a 1 per cent rise after inflation for the next three years following fraught negotiations which saw Geoff Hoon cancel a trip to China last weeks for last-minute talks.

But today the Chancellor is likely to ask the MoD to reform the way it operates and to cut jobs from its hugebureaucracy, which accounts for a fifth of civil-service jobs. The Chancellor is expected to call on Mr Hoon to "make greater efficiencies" among its 93,000 civilian staff.

Whitehall sources denied rumours that regiments would have to be abolished because of cuts were untrue and said Mr Brown has privately insisted frontline forces be protected. Friends say he has been upset by reports he was deliberately targeting the armed forces.

The Cabinet Office will see a rise in its budget to pay for extra cash for M15 and M16 to boost the fight against terrorism. The Home Office will also gain in the spending round to boost its funds for increased security and counter terrorism.

The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport are also expected to have their budgets frozen with increases close to inflation.

"Anyone who gets a real-terms increase is a winner in what is a very tight spending round," said one source close to the Treasury.

The Chancellor is also expected to signal job cuts across Whitehall including 4,000 from Defra, around 1,500 at the Department for Education and 1,000 at the Department of Trade and Industry.

Mr Brown has already announced 40,000 civil-service job cuts from the merger of the Inland Revenue and Customs and Excise, as well as plans to slim down bureaucracy. The Department for Work Pensions has already agreed to lose staff.

Following today's spending round, the DTI is expected to merge Business Links service - which liaises with small businesses - with the regional development agency in a bid to streamline services.

Patricia Hewitt, the Trade and Industry Secretary, will receive a big increase in cash for science and technology to keep Britain at the cutting edge of disciplines such as genetics and stem-cell research.

But yesterday Digby Jones, director general of the CBI, warned that cutting 80,000-100,000 jobs would only deliver £5bn of the government's promised £20bn savings: "I strongly urge the Chancellor to make a bold and radical statement on efficiency," he said.

Comments