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Chancellor to reveal where the £11.5bn axe has fallen

£11.5 billion. That is the target the Chancellor set himself. That was the magic figure he reached at the weekend when Vince Cable became the final Cabinet member to settle his department's budget with the Treasury.

Chancellor, George Osborne Credit: Press Association

Today George Osborne must explain where in each department the axe has fallen. The Spending Round (not a "Spending Review" which is for multiple years) is for one financial year. The year which begins in April 2015. One month before the General Election.

It will set the spending plans for the new government. Be that government a Conservative one. A Labour one. Or another coalition of varying colours. The government spends a total of around £740 billion pounds each year.

The cuts to departmental budgets would have been less painful had the coalition not committed to ring-fencing some large spending departments.

Spending in some areas is protected from cuts Credit: Press Association

Spending on hospitals is excluded from the cuts. So is spending on schools. So too overseas aid - a very controversial commitment for many Conservative MPs.

Defence has also been spared the worst of the cuts. The Ministry of Defence was asked for five per cent savings on day to day spending while getting a one per cent rise for equipment. The Prime Minister was also forced into ruling out further cuts to military personnel after senior generals publicly warned of the dangers of cutting too far.

So where does that leave everybody else?

Home Office headquarters in central London Credit: Press Association

It leaves those other departments with disproportionately deeper cuts. The Home Office budget, transport, local government, business and culture are all expected to have agreed to cuts of between 8 and 10 per cent. Remember these reductions are on top of those agreed in the previous Spending Review.

Local government is the worst hit area. The central government grant which make up about a third of council budgets has been slashed by around 30 per cent already. The Local Government Association has been warning that some authorities are on the brink of financial collapse. Others, the LGA warns, may soon struggle to pay for even the statutory services that councils must provide by law. Today's announcement is unlikely to bring any financial relief.

Labour has now found reverse gear and in the last few weeks party leader, Ed Miliband, committed to sticking to the 2015/16 spending plans if he wins the election. But expect Labour today to claim the government has been forced into this round of cuts because George Osborne failed to get the economic growth he had promised.

The note reads: "Dear Chief Secretary, I'm afraid there is no money. Kind regards - and good luck!" Credit: ITV News

The "there is no money" note from 2010 left by Labour's former Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Liam Byrne, was released to ITV News this week for the first time. It gave us an insight into how the Conservatives and Lib Dems plan to remind voters, in the two years before the election, why these painful cuts are unavoidable.

After today's announcement, the coalition plans to focus on infrastructure investment rather than spending reductions. Those details are due on Thursday.

In the last few days, the Chancellor has allowed himself to talk about the economy moving into a "different phase" and that it is "leaving intensive care."

But first, to George Osborne's medical analogy, the doctor has another round of rather unpleasant medicine to administer.

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