Cabinet Office funding to be cut again by at least 8 per cent in 2015

The Cabinet Office is one of the first seven Whitehall departments to have agreed further budget cuts of 8 to 10 per cent with the Chancellor of the Exchequer ahead of next month’s spending review.

George Osborne told the BBC’s Today Programme this morning that he needs to cut spending by £11.5bn in the year starting April 2015, and the savings agreed by the first seven departments amount to around a fifth of this.

Because the general election is due in 2015, the detailed spending plans prepared by the Treasury will cover just one year instead of three.

Other departments that have already agreed to cuts which are likely to have a big impact on civil society service providers are the Ministry of Justice and the Department for Communities and Local Government.

The other departments which have agreed to cuts of between 8 and 10 per cent are the Department for Energy and Climate Change, HM Treasury, the Foreign Office and the Northern Ireland Office.

Health, education and foreign aid will be exempt from cuts and no further reductions are planned to the welfare budget.  Negotiations are ongoing with the other departments including the Home Office and Ministry of Defence.  

Osborne said: “This will enable us to get this deficit down and also, crucially, spend money where I think the public want it spent, which is on things like the NHS and on the kind of infrastructure…which helps create jobs.”

He said the government was “trying to improve the quality and productivity of public services while making sure we are not wasting money”.

The Charity Commission, which has already warned the Chancellor that it cannot sustain further cuts without seriously undermining its regulatory functions, is a non-ministerial government department, part of the Civil Service.

The Cabinet Office’s most recent published accounts, for the year to 31 March 2012, show that the Office for Civil Society spent just over £190m on programmes during the year, a cut of £30m or 16 per cent compared with the year before.

Its voluntary sector Strategic Partners programme, which at its height under the last years of the Labour government provided large amounts of core funding for 40 sector bodies – a total of £64.4m in 2008/09 – will be completely phased out by 2014.

The Cabinet Office did not respond to enquiries about how its spending would be affected by the further cuts agreed for 2015.

This article was taken from Civil Society – http://www.civilsociety.co.uk/finance/news/content/15248