By revealing that a number of government departments have already agreed to the cuts demanded by the Chancellor, others are now being placed under pressure.

The Chancellor needs to wield the axe both because deficit reduction is the centrepiece of his economic policy, and to show that he is more powerful than his Cabinet colleagues with a view to the forthcoming leadership election.

The great unknown though is what impact the cuts will have. As things stand, central government is not planning to do less. The implication is that policy and service provision will be the same. That is not realistic.

In addition, when these cuts are being talked about, for instance those apparently agreed to by CLG, the pain will be felt elsewhere as well, such as local government.

So Ministers do not always bear the brunt of the cuts they sign up for. That can also, at least in part, shift the political ramifications as well.