Sajid Javid 'fast-tracks' spending review as government gears up for election campaign
Sajid Javid has unveiled plans to make billions of pounds available for public services as speculation mounts that a general election could only be weeks away.
The Chancellor announced that a review of Whitehall spending will be "fast-tracked" so that departments will be prepared for Brexit on 31 October.
It means the planned three-year comprehensive spending review will be postponed until later next year.
Mr Javid said the move would mean that government departments would have the certainty they need to prepare for the looming Brexit deadline.
The announcement, which will allow Boris Johnson to deliver on big-money spending pledges on the NHS and schools, comes amid reports that he is planning to hold a snap election within days of the UK finally leaving the EU.
Mr Javid, said: “We will get Brexit done by 31 October and put our country on the road to a brighter future.
"The Prime Minister and I have asked for a fast-tracked spending round for September to set departmental budgets for next year.
"This will clear the ground ahead of Brexit while delivering on people’s priorities."
But Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell accused the Government of "pre-election panic measures".
He said: "Johnson is splashing a little bit of cash as a publicity stunt, but keeping the door open for even more austerity if a no deal Brexit breaks the economy.
"Worryingly, a one-year spending review means that the Government is able to turn off the taps of any additional spending after the first year. There are also gaping holes in the spending plans – nowhere near enough for our NHS or our schools or our local councils, nothing to lift children out of poverty, nothing to end the pain caused by the Tories’ Universal Credit, or to scrap the bedroom tax or the cuts in support for disabled people.
"The Tories have dumped any pretence any longer to have a so called long term economic plan. None of our public services will be able to prepare for anything beyond the next year. This is no way to run a budget or a country.
"The Government that has been driving us headlong into a disastrous no deal is now playing dangerous games with spending. It’s clear Boris Johnson can’t be trusted with the UK’s economy."