Today’s Spending Review has set out how much Government departments will get from the Treasury for the next year. At the beginning of this year, we would never have predicted the current economic challenges and the unprecedented levels of borrowing brought about by the coronavirus pandemic and it has been a challenging time for us all. My role as Chief Secretary to the Treasury in the Spending Review is to lead negotiations between the Treasury and department Secretaries of State, discussing resource allocation and capital funding and helping determine the priorities for support.
Our focus in this Spending Review has been on three key areas, to provide the funding to respond to the coronavirus, invest in our recovery across the UK, and deliver on our promises to level up. The Chancellor of the Exchequer today set out the key measures and this includes:
As always, there will be those who will criticise our decisions - including reducing overseas aid and on freezing some public sector pay. albeit the majority will still receive an increase such as if they work for the NHS, earn below £24,000, or receive progression pay. The Government accepted in full the recommendations of the low pay review commission, increasing the national living wage by 2.2% and extending it to over-23-year-olds rather than the previous over-25-year-olds.
The Spending Review delivers significant extra support to respond to Covid and fund more for education, defence, policing, transport and health. The next step is to work with departments on the delivery of these programmes, including for services here in North East Cambridgeshire.