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£325m MoJ cuts target prison building

24 May 2010

The £325m of cuts in the MoJ’s budget announced by chancellor George Osborne this morning will target prison building, it has emerged.

However, no details have emerged about the fate of the £360m cuts in criminal legal aid and the Courts Service announced by former legal aid minister Lord Bach in March.

A spokeswoman for the MoJ said the £325m would be raised from cutting waste and inefficiency, “including stopping capital projects, and delivering the administrative estate and meeting prison capacity requirements more efficiently.”

She said other savings would come from reducing “discretionary spend in areas such as consultancy, travel, events and postage” and in “further tightening recruitment to all but the most essential posts”.

Spending on ICT and change programmes will be reviewed to “ensure that only essential projects are taken forward”.

Steve Hynes, director of the Legal Action Group, said it was “great” that legal aid was not the target of the cuts but was concerned that it was unclear what would happen to the £360m package of cuts announced by the previous government.

“There is still a black hole in the MoJ’s budget and we will have to wait for the detail,” he said.

“Some of the cuts in the prison budget will be recycled into rehabilitation and there will need to be a balance.”

However, he added: “The money is there. They can find it.”

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