There was a lack of detail during the election campaign on where the cuts in public spending would come from. Neither Labour nor the Conservatives seemed willing or able to talk specifics. Only now is there beginning to be some progress.

With the Spending Review set for 25 November, George Osborne has set out the challenge facing each government department. With some spending - NHS, education, defence - being protected, that makes the task facing others even more severe.

This department-by-department approach is also highly combative. It does little to foster joined-up thinking and instead Ministers do all they can to protect their department.

The Spending Review process and the cuts made by the Chancellor could be the most important announcement made in this whole Parliament.