Nations: Condemnation from across UK

The devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are to have budgets cut by 6.8 per cent, 7.5 per cent and 6.9 per cent respectively.

Spending in Scotland will drop from £28.2bn this year to £27.7bn in 2014. In Wales, spending will fall from £15bn this year to £14.6bn in four years' time, a drop of £400m in real terms. Northern Ireland spending will drop from £10.5bn to £10.3bn.

The Treasury said Scottish spending would be reduced by around 1 per cent less in real terms than the UK average – but this figure was disputed by the SNP-led Scottish Government. The Scottish Finance Secretary John Swinney said: "The Chancellor's cuts went beyond our expectations."

In Wales, the First Minister Carwyn Jones called the cuts a "hammer blow". More than a quarter of jobs in Wales are in the public sector, one of the highest concentrations in the UK, raising fears that the country will be hit hard. "Let's not pretend this is good news," said Mr Jones. "This is the worst settlement of any of the devolved nations."

In Northern Ireland the DUP and Sinn Fein united to oppose the cuts. First Minister Peter Robinson said the news was "very disappointing".