The Treasury released an avalanche of funding announcements, days before the chancellor delivered his balance sheet on October 27.
In recent days, government statements have come out that define spending on transport, health and education.
Commons speaker Lindsay Hoyle is furious, telling MPs on Monday that it “was not acceptable” to inform the media before MPs.
He thundered that ministers used to “walk” if they inquired about a budget,
Indeed, in 1947, then Chancellor Hugh Dalton resigned after divulging his budget details to a reporter.
So what do we know?
First, this isn’t the full story.
Rishi Sunak’s budget will not only concern manifestations of generosity. The Treasury has asked departments to identify “at least 5% savings and efficiencies from their daily budgets” and on Wednesday we could hear more about these plans.
The government has already pledged to spend on health care, schools, defense and overseas aid, so other sectors like local government, justice and higher education may face a tightening on their budgets.
And there may be more to some of the seemingly lavish spending promises than it seems.
- A simple guide to the 2021 Budget
A word of caution
Analysis by political correspondent Damian Grammaticas
Be careful what you are reading! They sound good, all these announcements ahead of the budget and spending review.
But they must be taken with caution. This is the PR blitz in search of good headlines. We still don’t know the details of what exactly the government is planning.
The investment streak will make a difference. But there are questions.
Are transport links, treatment centers and other projects completely new or have some parts been announced (with equal fanfare) before now?
Basically what is happening more generally to the budgets of the departments that get money?
A brilliant investment in something is great, but is that department’s daily spending squashed? And what about those areas that do not receive the handouts?
Better to wait until Wednesday to really judge the Chancellor’s generosity.
The government has announced that regions of England’s cities will receive £ 6.9 billion to spend on train, tram, bus and bicycle projects.
This includes £ 1.07 billion for Greater Manchester, £ 1.05 billion for the West Midlands and £ 830 million for West Yorkshire.
However, the £ 6.9bn figure includes only £ 1.5bn in additional spending because the government is including the £ 4.2bn pledged in 2019 alongside the bus funding announced by the prime minister last year.
The chancellor declined to be drawn on the future of High Speed Two’s eastern leg, which could be delayed or canceled to save around £ 40 billion. If implemented, the extension would reduce travel times between London and the North East by 31 minutes. It would also reduce 52 minutes of travel between London and Leeds.
Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will also receive extra funding through the Barnett formula, a mechanism the UK government uses to allocate additional money to donated nations when it spends the most in England.
- Cities in the regions will receive £ 6.9 billion for public transport
- The government has urged to make a decision on the HS2 route
NHS England will receive £ 5.9 billion to address the backlog of people waiting for tests and scans. This covers £ 2.3 billion for diagnostic testing, including shopping center clinics for scans; £ 1.5 billion on bedding equipment and new ‘surgical hubs’; and £ 2.1 billion to improve IT.
Health agencies welcomed the money but warned it would not solve the staff shortage problem. According to data published by NHS digital, there were 93,806 full-time vacancies across the NHS in England as of June.
- NHS in England to get 5.9 billion pounds to cut waiting lists
Increase in the national living wage
Mr. Sunak will announce an increase in the National Living Wage from £ 8.91 per hour to £ 9.50, which will take effect April 1st next year.
This is a 6.6% increase in the minimum wage for all people aged 23 and over, more than double the current 3.1% increase in the cost of living.
Assuming a 40-hour week, the new minimum wage amounts to a wage of £ 1,646 per month or £ 19,760 per year.
The wage rate increases follow the recommendations of the Low Pay Commission, an independent advisory board.
- The National Living Wage is set to rise to £ 9.50 an hour
The health department will receive £ 5 billion over the next three years for research and development.
This includes £ 95 million that will go into research into ways to treat cancer, obesity and mental health.
The money will also be spent on developing genome technology that could detect more than 200 conditions in newborns. Existing tests can currently only identify nine.
Education and skills
2.6 billion pounds will be spent to create 30,000 new school places for children with special educational needs and disabilities.
The money will also go towards improving the accessibility of school buildings and funding new special arrangements in free schools in England.
The budget will also include £ 1.6 billion over three years to implement new T-levels for 16-19 year olds plus £ 550 million for adult skills in England.
There are currently around 2,000 students in T-level courses, but the government hopes to increase these numbers.
Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and University Leaders, warned that the extra money was a “gamble” as it was unclear how many would want to take the qualification.
The government will also spend an additional £ 830 million to modernize colleges in England.
- The Chancellor allocates funds for vocational training
- What will teens study for the new T levels?
The Treasury is allocating £ 1.8 billion to build some 160,000 new homes on abandoned or unused land – also known as brownfields – in England.
Nigel Wilson, chief executive of Legal and General, told the BBC that the investment was pointing in the “right direction”, but “it was not enough at the moment”.
An additional £ 9 million will also go towards allowing municipalities to transform neglected urban spaces into ‘pocket parks’ about the size of a tennis court.
The chancellor is also expected to confirm £ 65 million for the digitization of the UK planning system.
- Budget: £ 2 billion for new homes on vacant land
Research and business
Grants worth £ 1.4 billion will be awarded to “mobile international” companies to invest in UK infrastructure.
This includes £ 345 million to increase resilience for future pandemics and £ 800 million for the production of electric vehicles in the North East of England and the Midlands.
As part of the package, a team of talent networks will aim to attract highly skilled workers in the UK, through “innovation hotspots” initially based in San Francisco and Boston in the US and Bengaluru in India.
Families and children
The government has announced £ 500 million to support parents and children in England.
This includes £ 200 million to support families with complex problems; £ 82 million to fund centers in 75 different areas to provide counseling for parents; £ 100 million for mental health support for expectant parents; and £ 50 million for breastfeeding support.
Labor said the government had previously closed over 1,000 children’s centers – known as Sure Start centers – and that this new ad “rings hollow.”
Mr. Sunak defended past cuts, arguing that the new funding “would create a wider family network than Sure Start centers.”
- Ministers pledge £ 500 million to support young families
Other expense announcements
- £ 850 million to restore museums and art galleries including the London V&A and Tate Liverpool; £ 125 million for a scientific research center in Oxfordshire and £ 75 million for regional museums
- £ 700 million to protect the UK’s borders, including £ 74 million for a new fleet of patrol boats
- £ 700 million for football, tennis and youth facilities
- £ 435 million to prevent crime, protect communities and help victims in England and Wales
- £ 150 million for the British Business Bank to encourage Dragons’ Den-style regional investor development outside of London and the South East
- £ 5 million for research grants to develop new surgical and therapeutic options for amputees and blast victims
- A tax change to encourage UK shipping companies
- Budget 2021
Cities in the regions will receive £ 6.9 billion for public transport
- 2 days ago
The Chancellor allocates funds for vocational training
- 1 day ago
NHS in England to get 5.9 billion pounds to cut waiting lists
- 9 hours ago
Budget: £ 2 billion for new homes on vacant land
- 6 hours ago
A simple guide to the 2021 Budget
- 3 hours ago
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