Chancellor George Osborne has informed the Department of Energy and Climate Change that its budget is to be cut by £70 million for the 2015/16 financial year.

Osborne today unveiled plans to save £4.5 billion from asset sales, underspends and efficiencies in the Treasury as the new Conservative government begins to identify where it can find savings and bring down the national debt.

Some £3 billion is to come from departmental savings outside of protected areas including the NHS and schools with many departments agreeing to “tightly managed budgets” over the coming year.

“Reducing the deficit – that is how you deliver lasting economic security for working people. For as everyone knows, when it comes to living within your means, the sooner you start the smoother the ride,” Osborne said.

While DECC’s target of £70 million is relatively modest compared to other departments such as defence, transport and justice, DECC was regarded as one of the trimmest budgets within government after losing 10% of its budget in 2013.