Chancellor George Osborne is preparing to reveal the biggest programme of cuts in the UK for decades, in his long-awaited Spending Review. Average budget reductions of 25% to most Whitehall departments are expected alongside welfare cuts, following months of negotiations with ministers. Reports suggest nearly 500,000 public sector jobs will go by 2014-15. On Tuesday 8% cuts to the defence budget were outlined separately in the strategic defence review. Overall 42,000 jobs - in the Ministry of Defence and in the armed forces - are to go by 2015. On Wednesday Mr Osborne will outline cuts in other departments which could range between 25% and 40% - with the exception of health and international development - in addition to welfare cuts. Mr Osborne has already announced plans to stop child benefit payments to higher rate taxpayers. There had been reports it could be cut altogether for children once they reach the age of 16, rather than 18 as at present, but sources have told the BBC that will not happen. Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander was photographed carrying the Spending Review on Tuesday - two pages of which were visible to photographers. It stated that tackling the deficit was "unavoidable" and there would be an "inevitable impact" on state workers. Summer negotiations While it said the wage freeze and flexibility over hours would help minimise redundancies, it suggested a forecast that there would be 490,000 fewer public sector workers by 2014-15 had been adopted by the government. Thousands of protesters gathered in Westminster on Tuesday to lobby MPs ahead of the announcement. Dave Prentis, general secretary of the Unison union, said the coalition government was "taking a chainsaw to our public services ... not because of a deficit, but because of an ideology". http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-11579979 Greece, France and now UK. Ouch. Ouch.