Britain to refocus public spending in 'fair' move: Osborne

17th August 2010, Comments 0 comments

Britain's finance minister George Osborne will say Tuesday that the government is to refocus public spending on areas that will boost long-term economic success as it attempts to slash the deficit.

Osborne was to make a speech preparing the ground for October's comprehensive spending review in which the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government is expected to make deep cuts in public spending.

He will robustly defend the cuts as "fair." saying the government would be wrong to saddle future generations with the record 154.7-billion-pound (188-billion-euro, 242-billion-dollar) deficit it inherited from the previous Labour government.

Osborne, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, will say the future "is not about how much the government spends but about what the government actually does with the money", according to advance excerpts of the speech.

He will insist the spending review will deliver a fairer society as well as helping to cut the deficit.

"We are shaping the economy of the future by promoting a pro-growth agenda," Osborne will say.

"We are shaping the big society of the future by decentralising power and empowering people.

"We are shaping the public services of the future by reforming the public sector so it delivers value for money.

"And we are shaping Britain's future role in the world through our review of defence and security."

Osborne said in an interview ahead of the speech that it was not fair to pass on a huge deficit to future generations.

"Not living beyond your means is fundamentally progressive and fair," he told BBC radio.

"I want, fundamentally, a child born at the end of this period of government to have better life chances than a child born at the beginning of this government.

"I also want to make sure that child is not burdened with debts that this generation were not prepared to pay off."

The government has said that the only ministries to be spared cuts will be health and international development.

Unions have warned workers at the justice ministry to brace for the loss of up to 15,000 of the ministry's 80,000 staff as its budget is slashed by up to 25 percent, according to a leaked letter.

© 2010 AFP

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