The Prime Minister’s Spokesman (PMS) said the Chancellor set out the details of the Spending Review (SR) at Cabinet this morning. He set out the principles which governed his approach to the SR; reform, fairness and growth. Reform was about ensuring that we were driving out waste in all areas and promoting reform. Fairness meant that everyone needed to make a contribution to the consolidation, but those with the broadest shoulders should make the greatest contribution, and the most vulnerable should be protected. On growth the objective was to prioritise programmes and capital spending that supported economic growth.
The Prime Minister summed up at the end of Cabinet by saying that we needed to deal with the deficit, but in a way that was fair and took the country with us. This was an anxious time for some people in the public sector who would be worried about their jobs, but this was a four-year plan. It would be tough but achievable, and we believed it was both fair and promoted economic growth whilst protecting the things that people cared about.
Asked what the rest of Cabinet’s response was to the SR, the PMS said that there was general recognition around the table that this was tough and the settlements for departments would imply some hard work for departments over the coming years.
Asked how long it would take for departments to come up with more detailed plans, the PMS said that this was a four-year process; in some areas they would be able to set out their plans quickly, but in other areas it would take longer. It would depend on the individual department and the public service providers involved.