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Heating turned down in cuts drive

Officials at the Department for Communities and Local Government will be hoping for a mild winter after plans were announced to turn down the office heating as part of the Government's "austerity" drive.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said that the measure - to be introduced initially on a trial basis - was one of a number of cost-cutting proposals put forward by staff themselves.

Others include cutting the number of staff mobile phones, stopping refreshments at any meeting lasting less than four hours, and cutting back on the use of first class post.

Some office lifts will be be closed during quiet periods, photocopiers and printers will be limited to one per floor, and the department's headquarters building in London's Victoria will be closed overnight and at weekends.

New rules will require staff to always use public transport when they are travelling on departmental business, going standard class when they are taking the train.

"I'm implementing the best austerity ideas from my staff to show there is a thriftier and smarter way to use taxpayers' money in the future," Mr Pickles said.

"The whole country has to play its part as we cut a mountain of inherited debt."

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