Treasury chief secretary tells departments to rein in spending demands
Liz Truss to say that she believes there is still greater efficiencies to be made in existing government spending despite budget constraint since 2010
Chief secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss is today set to warn government departments that there will be little money to boost public spending in forthcoming Spending Review, and will call on ministers to end their demands for extra cash.
In the speech at the London School of Economics, Truss will say that more still needs to be done to boost the efficiency of existing Whitehall spending, and that the government finances remain constrained after eight years of austerity.
The comments come after the government agreed a £20bn funding boost for the NHS – paid for in part by tax rises, while defence secretary Gavin Williamson and home secretary Sajid Javid are among the senior figures thought to be looking for budget boosts as negotiations for the next spending round begin.
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However, chancellor Philip Hammond has warned Cabinet members there will be no more money for other departments, and Truss writes in the Daily Telegraph today that “my instinct is we can get better value for money for [existing] spending, rather than just upping the budget of every department”.
She adds: “Government has a responsibility to its people to balance the books and keep taxes as low as we possibly can. We have a responsibility to make sure every pound pulls its weight.”
Truss will also say that ministerial colleagues have “not been clear with the public about the tax implications of their proposed higher spending”, and will brand demands for additional cash “unsustainable, unaffordable and un-Conservative”, adding: “It’s not macho to demand more money.
“It’s much tougher – and fairer to people – to demand better value for money,” she will add.
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