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Ottawa cutting services, not back office: PBO

OTTAWA - A new report from the Parliamentary Budget Office finds that the Conservative government's spending restraint program is focusing on front line services, while back office spending continues to rise.

That's exactly the opposite of promises made by Treasury Board President Tony Clement, who said last year that the majority of the spending cuts would target administrative and support costs and wouldn't affect service to the public.

Overall, the independent budget office found that Ottawa's spending was down 0.6 per cent through the first six months of the current fiscal year, which ends March 31.

Direct program spending fell four per cent.

But spending on internal services — such as communications, information technology, human resources and financial management — actually rose eight per cent.

And the PBO report says capital expenditures, in large part driven by Defence spending, also climbed in the first half of 2012-13, up almost seven per cent.

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