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Government to sell off final stake in Royal Mail amid £4.5bn of 'extra' cuts

The government will sell off its remaining 30 per cent stake in Royal Mail as part of a £4.5bn package of extra budget cuts, it was announced today.

Chancellor George Osborne revealed the sell-off would raise £1.5 billion, on top of a £3bn package of other cuts and efficiencies including land sales and cutbacks in administration costs.

The extra savings will add to the £13bn of cuts already being made by Whitehall departments.

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Labour: Chancellor's long-term plan 'totally ripped up'

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.

Shadow Chancellor Chris Leslie Credit: PA Wire

During a debate in the Commons today, Shadow Chancellor Chris Leslie told Mr Osborne:

It sounds to me as though any semblance of a long-term plan has been totally ripped up, that we've got panic in the Treasury, that we've got chaos with in-year public spending decisions taken.

Why didn't you announce those in the March Budget if they were part of some sort of long-term continuum?

Have you suddenly decided to rapidly change your course when it comes to public expenditure in that way and why do it in such a shabby way?

– Chris Leslie, Labour

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."

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