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Royal Mail sell-off and £3bn of cuts are on the way

George Osborne has announced plans to sell the Government's remaining stake in Royal Mail and trim billions more from Whitehall budgets in a bid to balance books.

The Chancellor said he would begin offloading the 30% holding stake in Royal Mail, worth around £1.5 billion, within months. Civil Service departments, meanwhile, will have to save £2.5bn and sell assets worth around £500m.

Cuts will also be made in grants to higher education and cash will be clawed back from local government public health funding.

The Government has appointed Rothschild to advise on the sale of the Royal Mail stake. Treasury aides refused to say whether shares would be offered to the public or restricted to institutional investors, but none will be reserved for employees.

Unveiling the package, Mr Osborne insisted it showed ministers were "getting on with what we promised". "It is the right thing to do for Royal Mail, the businesses and families who depend on it and the taxpayer," he said.

"When it comes to living within your means, the sooner you start, the smoother the ride."

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