Underneath the headline numbers announced in the Spending Round on 26 June, ‘efficiency savings’ accounted for a whopping £5 billion – or 43% – of the total £11.5 billion of cuts. What is far from clear is where those “efficiencies” will come from. The closest we can get is looking at the changes to departmental administrative budgets (effectively central government operating costs). They are squirreled away on page 61 in Table A.3. As the graph below shows, unlike the blanket cuts of at least 33% to administration budgets in the 2010 Spending Review, reductions this time were not doled out evenly. Intriguingly, the Cabinet Office will take the biggest hit of all at 29%. This will no doubt include major cuts to the Efficiency and Reform Group itself – an interesting move since it claims to have generated major savings to date. Other big reductions are in the NHS, Department for Work and Pensions and Home Office who are also slated to take large cuts of around a fifth to a quarter – in a single financial year. Meanwhile, at the other end of the spectrum, three departments (Energy and Climate Change, International Development and HM Revenue and Customs) will […]

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