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Hunger games: British Treasury threatens to seize funds if no cuts are made

Published time: May 03, 2013 10:35
Demonstrators chant slogans during a student rally in central London on November 21, 2012 against sharp rises in university tuition fees, funding cuts and high youth unemployment. (AFP Photo / Carl Court)

Demonstrators chant slogans during a student rally in central London on November 21, 2012 against sharp rises in university tuition fees, funding cuts and high youth unemployment. (AFP Photo / Carl Court)

UK cabinet ministers who are refusing to make the required spending cuts are being warned that the Treasury will simply seize their funds, leaving them unable to foot their departments’ bills.

Several government departments have failed to submit plans to cut an additional 10 per cent from their budgets in an internal effort to reduce wasteful expenditure, claiming the demanded cuts are too steep, the Mail Online reported Friday.

Across Whitehall, government ministries are attempting to unload some of their expenditures by reclassifying into areas with rising budgets in a political battle that British media has dubbed ‘the Hunger Games,’ in reference to the dystopian film in which 24 young people are forced to participate in a battle to the death.

Treasury Chief Secretary Danny Alexander is now warning the “rebel ministers” that he will remove “billions” out of their administration budgets unless they comply. That would leave the MPs unable to pay staff salaries, rental on office space and other costs.

The threat comes as departments were ordered to create plans for introducing spending cuts of 11.5 billion pounds (almost US$18 billion) by this week as the government prepares to implement a spending review for the year 2015-16 later this month.

In February, Moody’s, the rating agency, deprived Britain of its coveted AAA status over its failure to put its public finances in order.

Earlier in the week, Prime Minister David Cameron suggested that some defense spending could be moved into the foreign aid budget to ease the financial burden on the military.

Cameron also signaled that food, health and education programmers could also be shifted into the Department for International Development.

The ministerial showdown has led to the creation of the so-called National Union of Ministers, which is arguing that their departments are being asked to sacrifice while other departments are exempt from the cuts.

One prominent member of the National Union of Ministers, Defense Secretary Philip Hammond, has warned publicly of the consequences of deeper spending cuts.

However, when Hammond leaked plans by the Ministry of Defense to seize 200 million pounds ($311 million) from the Department of Health to cover the cost for private schooling for the children of servicemen, Cameron called on ministers to “keep their thoughts to themselves.”

Comments (7)

Anonymous user 04.05.2013 05:04

British class system still in place watched by cameras and locked up if they open their mouth

Anonymous user 03.05.2013 21:45

Remember Austerity is an Excel Spreadsheet error! spread the word! Study the BRADBURY POUND

Anonymous user 03.05.2013 19:54

it's funny that I just saw the Hunger Games movie few hours ago and then I read the Headline...

View all comments (7)
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