Boris Johnson and Sajid Javid declare war on Whitehall 'waste' ahead of the Budget

Posted On: 
7th January 2020

Boris Johnson and Sajid Javid have told ministers to go back to their departments and “root out waste” ahead of the 11 March Budget.

Sajid Javid has urged minister to "root out waste" ahead of the Budget

The Prime Minister and the Chancellor told Cabinet the upcoming fiscal event was “the time to take tough decisions in order to prepare the economy for the next decade”.

Mr Johnson’s official spokesperson said all previously announced projects will come under review to make sure they still offer “value for money” for the taxpayer

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They said the PM is heading a “new Government with new priorities” after the Conservatives’ election victory, and ministers must make sure all spending now reflects that.

The spokesperson said on Tuesday: “Cabinet held a discussion on the economy and upcoming fiscal events, the Prime Minister said the Budget will focus on delivering the priorities set out in the manifesto this is as new Government with a new mandate including to level-up across the country, invest in infrastructure and tackle climate change.

“The PM said there is a massive opportunity to unleash potential in every corner of the United Kingdom.

“The Chancellor and the PM said the Budget is also the time to take tough decisions in order to prepare the economy for the next decade.

“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.”

But Labour's Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell warned: "During the election the [independent economics think tank] IFS said that austerity was baked into the Government's future spending plans.

"So this looks like a cuts round dressed up as an efficiency exercise with the government desperately looking for funds down the back of the sofa."

It comes after the Chancellor promised to use the Budget to prioritise the environment and cost of living, as well as building on previous spending pledges in the Conservative manifesto.

He will also set out plans for "responsible borrowing", including updating the Government's Charter of Fiscal Responsibility to allow himself more room to increase public spending.

Campaign promises by the Tories included raising the national insurance threshold to £9,500, keeping the “triple lock” on personal taxation and ending the benefit freeze.

Mr Javid also confirmed shortly after the election that the minimum wage would rise by 6.2% in April to £8.72 per hour, reaching £10.50 an hour by 2040.