Javid sets out pre-election spending boost for ‘people’s priorities’
Sajid Javid promised he was “turning the page on austerity” as he set out a cash boost for areas including health and education in a pre-election spending spree.
With Boris Johnson calling for a snap election, the Chancellor said the “uncertainty” around Brexit could not distract from delivering on the “people’s priorities”.
He said: “We are turning the page on austerity and beginning a new decade of renewal.
“A new economic era needs a new economic plan and today we lay the foundations with the fastest increase in day-to-day spending in 15 years.”
Insisting the UK would be ready to leave the European Union, with or without a deal, Mr Javid confirmed an additional £2 billion for Brexit delivery next year.
The Chancellor’s first major statement was repeatedly criticised by Commons Speaker John Bercow for deviating from the topic of the spending round.
Mr Javid announced the “fastest increase in day-to-day spending in 15 years”.
He said: “Next year I will add £13.4 billion to total public spending including £1.7 billion added for 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 in 15 years.”
Measures announced by the Chancellor included:
– Councils will have access to an additional £1.5 billion to fund social care next year;
– A 6.3% real terms increase in Home Office spending;
– Funding for homelessness will rise by 13%, an extra £54 million;
– A £6.2 billion increase in NHS funding;
– £2.2 billion for the Ministry of Defence.
But despite the increased spending, Mr Javid insisted “we won’t be writing blank cheques”.
“We won’t be able to afford everything and we’ll need to prioritise investment in policies that deliver real productivity gains and boost economic growth in the long-term,” he said.
“We’ll still need to make difficult choices about our national priorities within a clear set of rules to anchor our fiscal policy and keep control of our national debt.”
But he said the fiscal framework would be reviewed at the Budget later this year “to ensure it meets the economic priorities of today, not of a decade ago”.
Shadow chancellor John McDonnell dismissed the statement as “grubby electioneering”.