UK chancellor confirms date of November spending review

Tom Belger
·Finance and policy reporter
·2-min read
Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak during a visit to the headquarters of Octopus Energy in London.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak during a visit to the headquarters of Octopus Energy in London. Photo: PA

The UK chancellor will set out the government’s day-to-day spending budget for the year ahead in a few weeks’ time, alongside new forecasts for the economy and public finances.

Rishi Sunak announced the government’s spending review will be publicly launched on 25 November, after confirming it would only be a one-year review last week.

Plans for a more comprehensive multi-year review have been scrapped, with more immediate challenges such as the pandemic and Brexit dominating government attention.

Downing Street has hinted more support could be on the cards for cash-strapped families, according to PA, after a campaign by footballer Marcus Rashford for free school meals to be extended into the holidays.

“On November 25 I will deliver the 2020 Spending Review alongside the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecast, setting out spending plans for the next year so we can continue to prioritise our response to Covid-19 and protect jobs,” said Rishi Sunak on Twitter.

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The funding plans will include allocations to government departments for their day-to-day budgets, devolved administrations and capital spending.

A planned three-year spending review had already been delayed before it was scrapped. Britain’s last comprehensive review was in 2015. Former chancellor Sajid Javid cancelled the next review that had been planned for last year, saying the government was focusing on Brexit.

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Sunak then revived plans for a full three year review in July this year. At the time, he said the review would allocate resources towards “levelling up” the regions of the UK and turning Britain into a scientific “superpower.”

The Treasury said last week that the one-year view would focus primarily on COVID-19 and public services but would also allocate some resources towards infrastructure investment.

In July Sunak also put government departments on notice for budget cuts and told public sector workers not to expect another bumper pay rise any time soon, as part of potential cost-saving measures to tackle the UK’s ballooning national debt and deficit.

The Treasury warned at the time there would be “tough choices” when it came to non-priority spending. Departments were told to “identify opportunities to reprioritise and deliver savings” in preparation for the review.

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