30% spending cut for DfT

Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, has provisionally announced there will be a 30% average cut to the DfT’s spending over the next four years. Making the announcement prior to the upcoming Spending Review, the decision was part of a wider cost cutting exercise affecting other government departments, including: the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs; the Department for Communities and Local Government and the Treasury. It will be the resource spending, the day to day spending of the mentioned departments, that will be reduced.

Speaking at Imperial College’s White City campus in London, George Osborne said, ‘These savings will be achieved by a combination of further efficiencies in departments, closing low value programmes, and focusing on our priorities as a country. These provisional settlements apply to the day to day resource spending of the central departments – they are not the capital budgets of these departments. For as I set out last week at the Launch of the National Infrastructure Commission – we will continue to invest in the things that make our economy more productive. We will spend £100bn on our infrastructure over the Parliament – updating our roads and railways; investing in flood defences to protect our homes and businesses; and delivering superfast broadband across the country. The full details of that capital settlement and the result of the local government settlement will be announced at the Spending Review. But the provisional settlements I’ve outlined today mean that four of the 20 Whitehall departments have been settled.’

Reacting to the news, Chief Executive of Campaign for Better Transport, Stephen Joseph, said, ‘We fear that this huge cut in spending will hit everyday transport, the transport networks people use on a daily basis, whilst big road and rail schemes will remain untouched. We await details, but we fear this will mean more potholes in local roads, more cuts in local bus services, and less funding for safe cycling and walking routes. In order to protect the transport that most people use every day, we’d like to see buses get the funding they need by investing in a “Transport into Work” fund, which would help overcome the transport barriers to employment and would replace the successful Local Sustainable Transport Fund. We’re also calling on the Government to use its rail franchise premium income to make good on their promises for fairer fares and flexible ticketing for part time workers.’

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