Britain announced massive budget cuts

42064.jpegThe British government on Wednesday announced historic spending cuts, aimed at reducing the country's deficit, that will cost the public sector half a million jobs.

The measures announced by Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne will span four years and include an average cut of 19 percent in central government departments' budgets, an $11 billion reduction in welfare spending and an increase in the pension-eligibility age to 66.

The government acknowledged that 490,000 public-sector jobs would be lost over the four years as result of the cuts, Washington Post reports.

Even Queen Elizabeth II has taken a share of the strain, as Osborne froze government funding for her palaces and staff.

The Treasury chief warned government departments to prepare to cut their budgets by up to 25 percent over four years. While the eventual cuts are likely to be much less severe, they will still amount to the sharpest retrenchment in about 60 years.

Prime Minister David Cameron told a meeting of his Cabinet ahead of the announcement that it was "an anxious time for some people in public sector jobs," according to his spokesman Steve Field.

"It's going to be tough but it's something that is achievable and that we believe is fair and promotes economic growth while protecting the things that people care about," Field said, according to BusinessWeek.


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