Lord Kerslake: protecting defence could have "acute" impact on rest of Whitehall

Lord Kerslake tells the Financial Times pressure on other budgets could be made "more acute" by protection of defence spending

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By matt.foster

14 Apr 2015

The former head of the civil service has warned of the impact that protecting defence spending could have on other government departments.

Lord Kerslake - head of the civil service until September last year - told the Financial Times he felt it was “increasingly clear” that the Ministry of Defence’s budget would “to all intents and purposes” be safeguarded by the next government.

But he warned of the squeeze that such a move could place on other Whitehall budgets.

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“If we think about the pressure on the unprotected budgets, it’s even more acute if you think defence is unlikely to feature in huge measure,” he said. “That’s something I think people have not taken into account.”

Lord Kerslake, who also served as permanent secretary at the Department for Communities and Local Government until last month, told the paper that while many local authorities had coped with cuts to their budgets, it would be “unwise” to “re-run the record” and impose similar spending reductions again.

Local government had, he said, made such cuts “by stripping out staff and dimming the lights”.

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