Britain considers delay to some spending cuts: report

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Britain's government is considering a delay to some of its public spending cuts in what could be a setback to its much-vaunted plans to rein in enormous debts, a report said Thursday.

The Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition took power in May with a pledge to tackle the country's record deficit of 154.7 billion pounds (188 billion euros, 242 billion dollars) by making stinging and swift cuts.

Prime Minister David Cameron's government has proposed spending cuts which will average around 25 percent over four years in many departments.

But faced with difficulties in quickly implementing cuts, due to kick in from next April, ministers have been forced to consider delaying some major savings until later in the parliamentary term, reported the Financial Times.

Problems such as financial penalties for breaking contracts and redundancy costs have prompted the government to look again at its plans, said the paper, citing senior government officials.

Ministers also fear that wielding the axe early could lead to cuts being made in the wrong areas and that Britain's recovery from recession may be knocked of course, said the paper.

Finance ministry officials are working on plans for the so-called "reprofiling" of the spending cuts, which could lead to them being spread more evenly over the next few years, according to the FT.

No final decision has yet been taken, said the paper.

The ministry insisted there was no change to the government's strategy of eliminating the structural deficit within a parliament, which lasts up to five years in Britain, said the FT.

But it refused to confirm that a spending review on October 20 -- when full details of the savings will be outlined -- would stick to figures for the cuts which were originally announced.

Cameron on Wednesday urged Britons to "pull together" ahead of the stinging cuts and said there was no other way to firm up the economy.

"I wish there was another way. I wish there was an easier way. But I have to tell you: there is no other responsible way," he told his Conservative party's annual conference in Birmingham, central England.

© 2010 AFP

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