Departments start fighting over cuts
Posted by Jamie at 2 32 PM on Saturday, July 24
DESPERATE ministers ordered to make savage cuts are trying to make other departments pay for big-money projects.
Top Cabinet members have told the Chancellor expensive programmes should not come out of their budgets.
They are trying to force the Department of Health and Department for International Development (DfID) to foot the bill because they are not having their spending cut.
George Osborne has told departments across Whitehall to find spending cuts of up to 40 per cent.
They have produced two sets of detailed plans to slash spending in their departments - one based on 25 per cent and a second based on 40 per cent cuts.
But David Cameron has told Health and International Development their budgets will not be cut.
Now ministers facing eye-watering cuts are trying to shunt multi-million pound programmes to those departments.
The Ministry of Justice says mentally-ill offenders should be covered by the Department of Health rather than coming from the prisons budget.
The Home Office claims all drug rehab treatment should be paid for by the Department of Health.
The Foreign Office and Ministry of Defence are trying to reclassify much of their spending as “aid” and arguing it should come from DfID.
Defence Secretary Liam Fox also wants DfID to pay for redevelopment work in Afghanistan.
He believes the department should foot the bill for the security work being carried out by the Provincial Reconstruction Taskforce.
He also wants the Department of Health to pay the huge bills for treating soldiers injured in action.
The Department for Communities and Local Government is also getting in on the act. It wants to shunt social care spending onto Andrew Lansley’s health department.
And the Department for Education is angling for health to take on the cost of the drive to tackle obesity in schoolkids.
The strategy comes amid growing anger among Tory MPs about the special treatment given to the two ring-fenced departments.
Many claim “charity begins at home” and they don’t want aid spending to go up when poor Brits are being hammered.
And they argue real savings could be made in the NHS were it not for Cameron’s fear of the Tories being seen as the “nasty party”.
A Whitehall source said: “Ministers are playing some clever games with their budgets. They think it is the only way given the scale of the cuts they are facing.”