UK's Osborne Says 7 Government Departments Agree Spending Cuts

Rosie Hallam | Getty Images

British Finance Minister George Osborne said seven government departments have agreed to spending cuts of up to 10 percent as part of a spending review, the next big challenge as he tries to shrink the national budget deficit.

Osborne said Britain's justice, energy and communities departments were among those facing "significant savings" but that the country's National Health Service would remain protected from cuts.

"I've made a tough decision that I'm going to protect spending on the NHS," he told BBC television, saying he would also try to protect spending on schools.

Osborne is trying to squeeze cuts from spending by a range of government departments as part of a review due to be announced in June.

The BBC said in a report on its website that savings agreed so far meant the Treasury still has to find 8 billion pounds of the 11.5 billion pounds to be saved in the spending review.