Coffee House

Autumn Statement: Michael Gove becomes the poster boy for Whitehall cuts

4 December 2012

12:28 PM

4 December 2012

12:28 PM

George Osborne briefed the Cabinet this morning on tomorrow’s Autumn Statement, giving ministers some good news and some bad news.

The good news is that he is launching £5 billion of extra capital spending spread over three years as part of the fiscally neutral package tomorrow. That package will fund new schools, science and transport schemes, the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said this morning. He told journalists:

‘The Chancellor and the Chief Secretary have told Cabinet that they will announce at Autumn Statement over £5bn of capital investment to invest in the economy and equip Britain for the global race.’


But the bad news is that this money has to come from somewhere, and Osborne is funding it with a spending squeeze on Whitehall departments, which will be expected to save an extra 1 per cent next year, and then 2 per cent the year after. Significantly, the Health Department will be one that will be unaffected by these cuts.

Sticking with the positive, this is quite good news for Michael Gove, not least because he is getting an extra £1bn for 100 new free schools and academies. But he has also led the way on squeezing his own department, something Fraser detailed in his column a few weeks ago. Gove was cited as an example this morning of a minister who has made savings in his own area, including 1,000 civil service jobs, and yet again ministers will be wanting to follow his lead as they obey George Osborne’s spending squeeze.

Subscribe to The Spectator today for a quality of argument not found in any other publication. Get more Spectator for less – just £12 for 12 issues.

Show comments
  • mnmstate

    Gove is the worst thing to ever happen to education and that takes some doing. Basically a total idiot, clueless and we all know academies are just polished turds, an awful school with shiny uniforms…….get this lot out quick!!!

  • HooksLaw

    It seems a good idea to squeeze pointless spending and put some of it towards educating the future workforce and helping the construction industry at the same time.

    Despite claims that the govt are not cutting spending we see that in fact govt departments are underspending on their reduced allocations.

  • Cogito Ergosum

    Gove was of course fighting a department which really did not want to obey its minister, and at an early date tried to sabotage his plans by not removing minor factual errors from his announcements.

    He has managed to make progress with academies and free schools. (There is a difference, apparently, but only policy wonks need bother.) But he and his Dear Leader have not yet recognised the importance and value of selection by academic ability for secondary schools.

  • MirthaTidville

    You need Michael Gove leading the Conservative Party if it is to survive at all….

  • RealTory

    So where is the bad news?

  • tom jones

    Sounds like a good idea. Gove has ruled himself out of being PM or Tory leader, but maybe he’ll become chancellor one day? Good at cutting budgets and reforming entire departments? Exactly what Osborne isn’t.