"The Spending Review Framework (Cm. 7872)" sets out the Government's plan for the forthcoming spending review. The approach is guided by the principles of freedom, fairness and responsibility and seeks to engage and involve the whole country in the difficult decisions that will have to be taken to reduce the budget deficit. The approach entails: thinking innovatively about the role of government in society; taking the difficult decisions collectively as a Government to reduce the deficit; and, consulting widely using all available talents to ensure delivery of a stronger society as well as a smaller state. Taking in the lessons learned from Canadian experience in the 1990s, a 'Star Chamber' model of programme review boards at ministerial and senior official level will challenge departmental spending plans, question whether activities are essential to meet Government priorities or should be funded by Government, and ask if the activities can be provided in other ways and at lower cost. Public Service Agreements will be discontinued and new ways of ensuring accountability and that money is well spent will be devised. Departmental expenditure limits will be set for every Government department and plans for savings and reforms in social security, tax credits and public service pensions will be set out. Devolution of power and financial autonomy to local government will be progressed. The timetable and process for the spending review is outlined, along with details of the full, transparent consultative process that is planned for the summer.
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