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Sunday 20th of June 2010
June 18, 2010    

Projects axed by coalition Government as it aims to cut spending

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by Kay Murchie

It has been announced that the coalition Government has axed a dozen projects worth £2 billion, which had previously been signed off by the former Labour Government.

The cuts come as the new Government attempts to bring the UK’s deficit down.

According to Danny Alexander, the Liberal Democrat chief secretary to the Treasury, the projects include an £80 million loan to Sheffield Forgemasters, the £450 million North Tees and Hartlepool hospital building project. Almost £1 billion in programmes to help the unemployed and the Government’s £25m contribution to the new Stonehenge visitor centre.

Forgemasters Chief Executive, Graham Honeyman, described the decision as a “huge disappointment” after being told in March that it would receive the £80 million loan to build a 15,000 tonne press to supply specialist components for the nuclear industry.

Meanwhile, Mr Alexander also said an additional 12 projects, totalling £8.5 billion, will be suspended and these include a modernisation programme of libraries and a £7 billion PFI deal for a new generation of search and rescue helicopters.

However, the latter will be reviewed “as a matter of urgency”, said the Treasury.

The Government has also scrapped the Labour policy of free swimming for children and pensioners. The policy for the under-16s and over-60s was introduced two years ago but Sports and Olympics minister, Hugh Robertson, said the scheme was “a luxury we can no longer afford.”

In response to the cuts, Liam Byrne, shadow chief secretary to the Treasury, said the projects amounted to just 0.05% of Government spending and described it is an “attack on jobs”.

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