Scale back cuts, say devolved assemblies

The Government faced pressure yesterday from Britain's three devolved administrations to scale back on its planned spending cuts.

A joint statement from the administrations in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales said Chancellor George Osborne's October 20 Spending Review could endanger economic recovery.

They appealed for central Government to reduce its plan to cut billions from the devolved budgets over the next four years, while also recommending it implement the savings over a longer period.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The statement said: "There is now less than a fortnight until the publication of the UK's Comprehensive Spending Review and the Scottish Government, Northern Ireland Executive and Welsh Assembly Government wait with considerable apprehension to learn of the consequences for our respective budgets.

"While we recognise that a credible budget strategy is vital in returning the public finances to a sustainable footing and maintaining the confidence of the wider community including the financial markets, it is essential that we do not put the recovery at risk.

"We are concerned however that the UK Government's spending plans may do just that."

The leaders of the three administrations previously held talks on agreeing a united response to the threatened cuts.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

In the joint statement issued yesterday they said the Institute for Fiscal Studies had estimated the spending plans outlined in the June emergency budget represented the deepest and most sustained cuts to public services since at least the end of the Second World War.

The devolved administrations said they believed the cuts were "too fast and too deep".