Belfast Telegraph

Workers consulted on spending curbs

David Cameron and Nick Clegg have written to all six million public sector workers asking for ideas on how to make "fair and responsible" spending curbs.

The Prime Minister and his Liberal Democrat deputy made a bid to engage state employees in the cuts process amid growing anger over raids on their pay and perks.

They pledged that all "serious" ideas would be passed on to Whitehall officials for consideration of how they can be implemented.

The appeal came after Chancellor George Osborne announced in the Budget that most departments will face 25% spending cuts over the next four years.

In their letter, Mr Cameron and Mr Clegg stated: "We want you to help us find those savings, so we can cut public spending in a way that is fair and responsible.

"You work on the frontline of public services. You know where things are working well, where the waste is, and where we can re-think things so that we get better services for less money."

Public sector workers are being asked to visit the website www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/spendingchallenge by July 9 and answer the question: "How do we rethink services to deliver more for less?"

The PM and Mr Clegg came under fire from public sector workers during a television appearance on Wednesday over their drastic plans to tackle the deficit. They were criticised over the VAT hike, and crackdown on pay, pensions and benefits on the BBC show Britain's Economy: Cameron & Clegg Face the Audience.

Firefighter Denise Christie interrupted the Prime Minister as he talked about "pay freezes", insisting it was actually a "pay cut".

"From our point of view you're putting a pay cut," Ms Christie said. "If inflation is rising about 5%, a pay freeze is the same rise as inflation. I'm taking a 5% pay cut." She said the Government should be punishing the City more heavily instead.

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