Coastguard and police prepare for cuts

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Indy Politics

The coalition is to give more details this week on how spending cuts will hit services including police, roads and the coastguard. A series of announcements by ministers will flesh out the impact of settlements from this autumn's Spending Review.

The Department for Transport is thought to be planning to cut the number of coastguard stations in Britain from 19 to eight, of which only three will operate round the clock. The service could lose 250 jobs as part of efforts to save £7.5m a year.

A Public and Commercial Services Union spokesman said: "We would have concerns about any cuts that compromised coastguard cover."

Individual police forces are also set to learn what their budgets will be; overall, the reduction for next year is expected to be 5 per cent.

Whitehall grants to local authorities will be disclosed, and are in line to fall by 10 per cent on average in 2011-12. Funding used for "road conditions", such as repairing potholes, will reportedly be phased out over four years.

It was also reported that the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs will signal that the Government will no longer pick up the bill for outbreaks of foot and mouth and other animal diseases.

Ministers are keen to get as much as possible of the bad news on spending cuts out of the way early within the period of the Comprehensive Spending Review, so that by the next election, due by 2015, things can be seen to be improving.