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The News Line: News MORE SAVAGE BUDGET CUTS! TORY Chancellor Philip Hammond has signalled more savage cuts in Wednesday’s Budget, saying he will not be having a public sector ‘spending spree’.

Writing in the Sunday Times, he said that calls for ‘massive borrowing to fund huge spending sprees’ were ‘reckless, unsustainable and unfair on our young people who would be left to deal with the consequences’.

He warned in a BBC interview: ‘We’re borrowing a huge amount of money. Remember we have over £1.7 trillion worth of debt. We’re spending over £50 billion a year just on paying the interest on our debt, that’s more than we spend on defence and overseas aid together. He stressed on the Andrew Marr Show: ‘So this isn’t money in a pot. . . if your bank increases your credit card limit, I don’t think you feel obliged to go out and spend every last penny of it immediately.’

Indicating that NHS and council cuts will continue, Hammond said: ‘We recognise that our public services are under pressure to deliver the efficiency agenda that we’ve set out. I recognise, in particular, that social care and local authorities delivering social care are under some pressure. This isn’t just about money. We should remember that there are many authorities managing extremely well.

‘There are many examples around the country of extremely good working between the NHS and social care authorities. Just 24 local authorities account for 50 per cent of all the delayed discharges from the NHS. So it’s about good practise as well as about budgets.’

• Public sector net debt – not including public sector banks RBS and part-taxpayer-owned Lloyds – was £1.68tn at the end of January 2017, equivalent to 85.3% of GDP, according to the Office for National Statistics. It has increased by £91.7bn since January 2016, the ONS said. It noted: ‘This increase in net debt is largely a result of £58.0 billion of public sector net borrowing over that period plus cash transactions related to acquisition or disposal of financial assets (for example, loans or asset sales).’


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