Osborne: agreement with Cable over spending review close

George Osborne has denied claims that a row with Vince Cable is holding up his attempts to finalise the spending review for 2015-16 due to be announced shortly.

In an interview on the BBC’s The Andrew Marr Show on Sunday, the chancellor confirmed that he had yet to reach agreement with the Libe Dem business secretary, but he insisted that a deal was close.

He also confirmed that he had struck an agreement with Philip Hammond, the defence secretary, on Saturday night that will see some civilian posts go at the Ministry of Defence but no reduction in the number of frontline service personnel.

There have been claims that Osborne and Cable have been at loggerheads over the spending review, which will be announced on Wednesday and is due to deliver £11.5bn worth of cuts in government spending for 2015-16. Cable is reportedly resisting cuts demanded by the Treasury, and one of his allies has been quoted in a Sunday paper saying the business secretary “will not be bullied” by the chancellor.

But Osborne insisted that the gap between the two departments was now relatively minor.

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