Fraser Nelson

Number crunching cuts

Number crunching cuts
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The debate about cuts so far lacks any numbers, so I thought CoffeeHouses might like some. Contrary to what he claims Darling is planning cuts – but he just didn’t print the spending totals in his Pre-Budget Report (lack of space, one presumes). The Institute for Fiscal Studies, which produces its Green Budget tomorrow, has worked out what will be left for departments after debt interest, dole et. It amounts to a 10 percent cut. Here’s the table.

Yet the Tories plan for DFID to be 0.7 percent of GDP by 2013 – ie, rising by 63 percent - and health will not be cut. Cameron has indicated that he will not cut much in 2010-11, so let’s assume that the Labour spending rises for various departments go ahead as planned. Results below.

The result? About £4.5 billion transferred from Defence to DFID at a time of war. The Tories might categorise about £500m of military spending as DFIF, in which case the transfer would be £4 billion. The Home Office is cut by 13 percent, education by 12 percent and everything else by 17 percent. These are projected figures, of course, but they are broadly in line with what the Tories are planning. And if Osborne does reduce the deficit by more (which is becoming a rather big ‘if’) then the cuts would be even larger.