comprehensive spending review

Jim Pickard

When George Oborne addressed the cabinet this morning his message was the usual one about trying to make the cuts as fair as possible and to “fall on the broadest shoulders”. The chancellor admitted that this was an “anxious time for some in the public sector” who could now lose their jobs.

Lord Adonis meanwhile claims in this morning’s FT that “Whitehall is stunned and morale risks plummeting” as the cuts reality dawns. This chimes with what I’m told by several civil servants who read this blog.

Many departments are already going through a redundancy process – instigated in June – even before the new £83bn wave of cuts which will see an estimated half a million public sector jobs go.

I am told of one leaving party for BIS staff, held in a local pub, which attracted three or four hundred attendees. The atmosphere was utterly morose. Meanwhile some civil servants are receiving letters giving them only a week to decide whether or not they want to leave. As for those who are quitting, there are rumours that they may not be paid their redundancy payments until the end of November – a six week gap. “It feels really chaotic,” one tells me. Yet this is only a foretaste of the cuts to come. 

Jim Pickard

The National Housing Federation – which represents housing associations – will warn today that plans to build 270,000 affordable homes for low income families over the next decade could be axed as a result of the spending review.

The campaign group doesn’t know what’s in the CSR but is estimating that funding for new developments will be cut by up to 50 per cent; which is probably not far off the mark by my estimate. (The DCLG will slash spending on property grants; it’s also rumoured to be cutting its own staff by 40 per cent).

The National Housing Federation claims it has heard that housing is likely to be one of the biggest losers out Wednesday’s CSR – with the danger of building grinding almost to a halt.