Sajid Javid orders ministers to find 5% of cuts from their budgets to 'refocus' priorities
Cabinet ministers have been ordered to make huge cuts to their departmental budgets to free up cash to spend in other areas.
In a letter to their colleagues, Chancellor Sajid Javid and Prime Minister Boris Johnson said they had until 2 March to identify savings of up to 5%.
"This will allow us to refocus our efforts towards the things which matter most: strengthening our NHS; making our streets safer; and levelling up opportunity across the country," they wrote.
In particular, ministers have been urged to axe projects given the green light under Theresa May and which no longer fit the Government's agenda.
During the general election campaign, Mr Javid - who will deliver his first Budget on 11 March - pledged to spend an extra £20bn a year on public services funded by extra borrowing.
He said: "I’m announcing new fiscal rules that if elected will allow us to take advantage of the opportunity to invest in our future and our public services but without squandering the hard work of the British people.
"Like anyone who budgets whether it’s a household or small business or large business, I know that we must keep track of what we’re spending, and what we bring in.
"We can’t run an overdraft forever on day-to-day spending, so I can confirm that our first rule will be to have a balanced current budget. What we spend cannot exceed what we bring in."
And last month, both the Chancellor and the PM told Cabinet to root out waste from their departments so that spare cash can be found for other priorities.
"The Chancellor and the PM said the Budget is the time to take tough decisions in order to prepare the economy for the next decade," a spokesman for Mr Johnson said.
"They said ministers need to root out any waste, particularly anything that is not aligned with the Government priorities, and demonstrate value for money of every pound of taxpayers’ money that we spend."