By Jason Theodorou

The UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) will be the major casualty of George Osbourne’s spending cuts, announced today. The government’s business department is expected to shave £700m from its budget, as the coalition government works to reduce public sector spending.

The cuts are likely to be particularly damaging to regional development agencies in the south of England. Other areas expected to see cuts include university funding, and the UK Strategic Investment Fund.

Deputy prime minister Nick Clegg said it was ‘quite right’ that the BIS should weather the cuts, despite the ‘painful and controversial’ nature of the cuts. The coalition government is working to decrease a budget deficit of £156bn, with up to 30,000 jobs expected to be lost in the public sector alone.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister David Cameron visited BIS and described it as a ‘big economic department with a huge task in front of it’, namely ‘demonstrating that this country is open for business’. In the face of these cuts, Vince Cable has a bigger task on his hand than first anticipated.

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