By Claire West

The Government has said its most urgent priority is to tackle the UK's record deficit in order to restore confidence in our economy and support the recovery.

Today the Chancellor, George Osborne and the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, David Laws announced the first step in tackling the deficit, setting out details of how the Government will save over £6billion from spending during this financial year. These savings have been found by cutting waste and low value programmes across Government.

The savings will be delivered fairly, and will not affect the quality of key frontline services. Savings in health, defence and international aid will be reinvested in front line services on those departments, and spending on schools, Sure Start and education for 16-19 year-olds will be protected.

In line with the coalition Government agreement, the majority of the £6.2billion savings will be used to reduce the deficit. £500million will be reinvested in targeted support for further education, apprenticeships and social housing.

In the Budget on 22 June, the Chancellor will set out a comprehensive plan to eliminate the bulk of the UK's deficit over the course of this Parliament. The Treasury will also undertake a Spending Review, reporting in the autumn following consultation with all tiers of Government and the private sector.

Economist Jeremy Cook commented on today's announced details of £6.25bn of cuts by saying:

“While the markets liked the £6.25bn of cuts announced this morning, they also know that this is merely the appetiser. Osborne’s budget on 22 June is still the focus of speculators around UK assets and will form the bitterest pill the UK has to swallow.”