U.K. Treasury Minister Seeks More Cuts to Fund Roads, Railways

(Bloomberg) -- U.K. government departments are “extremely positive” about working with the Treasury to identify further spending cuts before a review next year, the minister in charge of drawing up the plans said.

Liz Truss, chief secretary to the Treasury, wrote to ministries without protected budgets earlier this year asking them to work with her department before the public spending review Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond is planning for 2019.

“Those discussions are ongoing -- I think any organization, whether you’re in the private or public sector, needs to be constantly looking at these costs and how to get better value,” Truss said in an interview in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday. “They’re all extremely positive about working with the Treasury.”

Truss caused a Cabinet rift in June when she said it was “macho” for ministers like Defense Secretary Gavin Williamson and Home Secretary Sajid Javid to ask for more money. The Treasury is under pressure to end almost eight years of austerity, and Hammond has said there is “light at the end of the tunnel.”

Truss said cutting spending in some areas would help fund government priorities including roads, railways and airports.

“We need to think strategically about how and where the government spends money, so we can focus on our core priorities,” she said. “We can think about different ways the government can deliver things, using new technology, what things we are currently doing that we shouldn’t be doing anymore.”

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