Danny Alexander accidentally reveals CSR

Photograph of CSR briefing reveals that public-sector workers will be asked to reduce hours to save

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Danny Alexander has been caught out by an expert paparazzo lens that snapped what appears to be a brief for tomorrow's Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR).

It might not be quite as bad as Bob Quick's blunder, but it is certainly embarrassing for the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, particularly because the brief – which is essentially a collection of lines for ministers to take in response to questions – contains details not meant for the public.

The key revelations in the document relate to public-sector jobs. It says the Office for Budget Responsibility will next month confirm its estimate of 490,000 public-sector job losses by 2014/15. This is not surprising.

"Government will do everything they can to mitigate the impact of redundancies," the document says, going on to outline "voluntary deals with staff on pay restraint or reduced hours in order to save jobs".

As Paul Waugh (who also has a very magnified version) notes:

That one line could give the powerful public-sector unions a major headache. They won't want effective pay cuts through reduced hours, but they know that may be better than job cuts.

The photograph also reveals that the government is pushing for a 30 per cent emissions target with the EU, and pledges £2.9bn for international climate finance.


David Cameron was also photographed today holding a draft of the Strategic Defence and Security Review showing that the MoD could face 6 per cent cuts. This has prompted speculation in some quarters that the leaks were a deliberate attempt to soften the blow ahead of tomorrow's full announcement.

Samira Shackle is a freelance journalist, who tweets @samirashackle. She was formerly a staff writer for the New Statesman.

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