The coalition government’s long-awaited spending review has been unveiled. The cuts are among the deepest seen in many years. On average Whitehall departments will experience a 19 per cent cut in their budgets as the government seeks to reduce the deficit with £83 billion of savings. The Chancellor described the cuts as informed by fairness, reform and growth.
The most stark of the announcements included the loss of 490,000 public sector jobs, £7 billion of additional welfare cuts on top of the £11 billion already planned, and the decision to raise the state retirement age for both men and women to 66 by 2020. The NHS, however, is to benefit from a small, real terms rise in income, while schools are to see their budgets increase from £35 billion to £39 billion.
Businesses will be interested to learn that the government will be creating an extra 75,000 adult apprenticeship places and moving ahead with its consultation on how best to make the PAYE system less of an onerous administrative duty for employers.
The Green Investment Bank, which will encourage the low carbon economy, is to go ahead with an initial capitalisation of £1 billion.
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