Twelve areas that are facing cuts in George Osborne's Autumn Statement

Oliver Wright@oliver_wright
Wednesday 25 November 2015 08:30
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The chancellor, George Osborne, will set his plans for how the government will spend around £4 trillion of taxpayer's money over the course of this Parliament in Wednesday's Autumn Statement - and deep cuts are expected.

1. Health

The NHS will be given an additional £4bn next year as an 'advance' on the £8bn spending increase that the Government has promised the health service by 2020. But the money will only be for so called "frontline services" like hospitals. Other parts of the health budget could face cuts.

2. Welfare

George Osborne will announce a climbdown on plans to reduce the Government's spending on tax credits by £4.3bn. While the Chancellor will not scrap the plan entirely he is almost certain to delay it until rises to the new national minimum wage take effect.

3. Education

Education spending for children up to the age of 16 has been ringfenced. But sixth form colleges are not included and many fear they will face significant cuts in their budgets which could force some to merge or close altogether.

4. Police

Despite intense and very public lobbying from police forces who claim that cuts will impact on the fight against terror, police budgets will still be a target for cuts.

5. Local councils

Local authorities will again be a target for cuts of around 25 per cent over the next four years as part of the Spending Review. It is possible Mr Osborne may try and ease some of the pressure by allowing local authorities that provide social care to increase council tax by an additional 2 per cent in order to fund this.

6. Business

Grants currently available to small business and entrepreneurs are likely to be replaced by repayable loans while the £6.4bn budget for science and technology may also be in the firing line. The business secretary Sajid Javid was apparently so keen to show his cost-cutting credentials that the Treasury had to scale back his plans.

7. Quangos

Mr Osborne will certainly announce the full or part merger of a number of government arm's lengths body in a bid to save money.

8. Higher education

Universities' £4.6bn research budget is expected to be cut while disabled students' allowances that cost £127m could also be scaled back or means tested.

9. Justice

Michael Gove has announced an ambitious plan to reform the justice system - but his department will still have to find significant savings.

10. Climate change

Decc actually has a very small administration budget - so if Mr Osborne wants to make any significant savings here he will have to cut the £7.5bn budget for nuclear decommissioning. This would be highly controversial.

11. Property

The Government's property portfolio is another big area for potential savings. MI5 and MI6 could be forced to move from their current locations and move in with another Government department while the MoD will also have to sell off some of the huge tracts of land it owns across the UK.

12. Culture, media and sport

There has been speculation that around £320m a year of lottery money that currently goes to fund charities could be diverted to pay for the arts, heritage and sport. This would be very controversial.

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