International Monetary Fund officials arrive in London Wednesday for their annual health check of Britain's economy as the government faces a fresh warning its austerity drive is causing a "lost decade of growth".
The 80:20 rule applies to the government's austerity policies: about 20% of the Treasury plan for rebuilding public finances rests on tax rises, while 80% comes from reductions in spending.
Danny Alexander, chief secretary to the Treasury, is planning to save billions in the spending review by scaling up a successful initiative that tested out the savings that could be achieved from integrating public services in Manchester and parts of London and two other locations.
George Osborne will attempt to shore up the government's credibility on economic revival on Monday when he accepts a recommendation from Lord Heseltine to target billions of pounds before the next election at boosting regional growth.
George Osborne is being blamed by rightwing Conservatives for fuelling speculation about the leadership ambitions of Theresa May as part of the chancellor's attempt to "disable" cabinet ministers who are fighting further spending cuts.
MPs have privately said they want a pay rise, with the majority calling for a 32% increase that would take their annual salary to £86,250.
Margaret Thatcher and her chancellor Sir Geoffrey Howe were behind a politically toxic plan in 1982 to dismantle the welfare state, newly released Downing Street documents show. She later attempted to distance herself from the plans after what was described as a "riot" in her cabinet.
The leader of the UK's largest public sector union has accused Labour of "avoiding all the big issues" and said the party will have "no hope" at the general election unless it adopts much stronger anti-austerity policies.
Repeated claims by ministers that the NHS made almost £6bn of productivity gains last year have been questioned by the public spending watchdog, which suggested that savings had been much smaller.
The election in 2015 is shaping up to be a desperate scramble for cash to fund public spending after the Institute for Fiscal Studies warned that the next government would need to impose large tax rises or even bigger welfare cuts to protect health and education spending.