Sajid Javid promises to ‘turn page on austerity’ with £13.8bn extra cash in Spending Round
Sajid Javid declared he was “turning the page on austerity” as he unveiled a £13.8 billion Whitehall spending spree.
The Chancellor promised “a new decade of renewal” as he delivered the Spending Round for next year with pledges of extra cash for education, the NHS and police.
He said he was “clearing decks for a Government that is delivering Brexit”, but the announcement there would be no more cuts to Government departments will be seen as a pre-election giveaway.
Speaking in the House of Commons, he said: “Next year I will add £13.4 billion to the plans for total public spending, including £1.7 billion added to capital spending.
“These extra funds take the real increase in day-to-day spending to £13.8 billion, or 4.1%. That means I’m delivering the fastest increase in day-to-day spending for 15 years.
“That funding allows us to start a new chapter for our public services and fund the people’s priorities.”
The Chancellor said there will be £750 million to fund the first year of a plan to recruit 20,000 new police officers, with an extra £45 million to get the first 2,000 in place by the end of March next year.
There will be a £6.2 billion increase in NHS funding next year, including £2 billion of new capital funding to upgrade 20 hospitals.
In education Mr Javid announced an increase in spending of £7.1 billion by 2022-23, with a minimum of £5,000 extra for secondary schools per pupil next year, and at least £3,750 per primary pupil.
He also revealed “a further £2 billion for Brexit delivery next year”, £1.5 billion for social care, and £2.2 billion in additional funding for the Armed Forces.
And he claimed that “no department will be cut next year”, saying every single one “has had its budget for day-to-day spending increased at least in line with inflation”.
Adding: “That’s what I mean by the end of austerity.”
But Labour’s John McDonnell called the speech a “compendium of meaningless platitudes”, accusing the Chancellor of: “Pretending to end austerity when they do nothing of the sort.”
The Shadow Chancellor said “the people will see today’s statement as the grubby electioneering stunt that it is”, calling it a “sham” which failed to use up-to-date economic forecasts.
Adding: “We all know the Chancellor may not be in his job very long.
“Maybe that’s why he felt the need to rush out a Spending Round based on figures from March rather than waiting for the Office for Budget Responsibility to tell him officially what the rest of us have known for some time; that the economy – after nine years of Tory austerity - is in bad shape and getting worse.”
Mr McDonnell told MPs: “They are claiming to be against austerity – after years of voting for it.
“They are claiming to be using ‘headroom’ which he knows has largely disappeared. And yet they are still failing to deliver a real end to austerity.”