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The sale of Royal Mail forms part of a wider programme of cuts and savings unveiled by government finance chiefs today.
Chancellor George Osborne revealed he would sell off taxpayers' remaining 30 per cent stake in the postal firm, worth around £1.5 billion, on top of a £3bn package of other asset sales and efficiencies.
The extra savings will add to the £13bn of cuts already being made by Whitehall departments, and include:
- Savings in the higher and further education sectors
- Administration costs reduced at bodies overseen by the Department for Education
- Similar cost-cutting at bodies overseen by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport
- The Department for Transport will sell £345m worth of land around King's Cross
The NHS, schools and international aid budgets have been protected from any of the additional cuts.
Labour have accused Chancellor George Osborne of "ripping up" his long-term plan after he announced an extra £4.5 billion of budget cuts.
The package of asset sales and additional savings comes on top of £13bn of spending reductions already set out - and includes the sell-off of the government's remaining 30 per cent stake in Royal Mail.
During a debate in the Commons today, Shadow Chancellor Chris Leslie told Mr Osborne:
To laughter, Mr Osborne replied: "Only the Labour Party will think it's 'shabby' to make an announcement first in the House of Commons. We set out two weeks ago that we were going to find further efficiencies and savings in government. That is what we deliver today."
The government is to sell off its remaining 30 per cent stake in Royal Mail, Chancellor George Osborne has announced as he set out proposals for cutting departmental spending by £3 billion this year.
The stake is currently said to be worth around £1.5 billion.
Speaking during a debate in the House of Commons, he told MPs it was the "right thing to do".
Initial reports suggest none of the shares being offered up for sale will be reserved for employees, who received 10 per cent during the last sell-off.
Chancellor George Osborne has said government departments have found an extra £4.5 billion for the current financial year.
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By selling its stake, the government exchanges control over Royal Mail for £1.5bn, Joel Hills writes - but does it put the service at risk?