China premier pledges cuts to government spending

Newly appointed Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is pledging to slash China's central government payroll and freeze spending on new vehicles and other perks, amid falling revenue growth.

Li told reporters at an annual news conference Sunday that funds flowing into central government coffers increased by just 1.6 percent over January and February.

Li says that although such low growth is expected to continue, spending on social programs will only increase, forcing the government to cut back in other areas.

He says that, in response, no new central government offices, halls or guest houses will be built, staff numbers will tumble, and spending on government hospitality, overseas trips and new vehicles will be curtailed.

Extravagant government spending, resulting in waste and enabling corruption, has long stirred public resentment.

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From left, China's former President Hu Jintao, newly appointed President Xi Jinping, newly appointed Premier Li Kiqiang and former Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao arrive to the closing session of the National People's Congress at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing China, Sunday, March 17, 2013. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)