Worcester MP Robin Walker has backed Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Spending Review, which he delivered today in the House of Commons. The Chancellor’s Spending Review reinforces that in times of economic uncertainty due to the coronavirus pandemic, the focus of the government is on getting investment to where it is most needed.

The Chancellor announced there will be a funding boost for the NHS with the health budget growing next year by £6.6 billion, to deliver 50,000 more nurses and 50 million more GP appointments. The government is investing in new technologies, building 40 new hospitals, upgrading 70 more and replacing most of the ageing diagnostic equipment.

Robin was pleased that a number of his long-term campaigns including health, education, school funding, a green economy, and affordable housing received welcome support in the Spending Review.

An increase in money for schools will mean that every pupil in the country will see a year-on-year funding increase of at least 2%. The government is also funding the commitment to rebuild 500 schools over the next decade and are providing £375 million to deliver the Prime Minister’s Lifetime Skills Guarantee.

There will be an increase in the National Living Wage by 2.2%, to £8.91 an hour – extended to those aged 23 and over which Robin hopes will be particularly supportive to those in Worcester on lower incomes.

Taking account of the pay review bodies advice, the Chancellor announced a pay rise to over a million Nurses, Doctors and others working in the NHS. Pay rises in the rest of the public sector will be paused next year. But the 2.1 million public sector workers who earn less than the median wage of £24,000 will be guaranteed a pay rise of at least £250.

Supporting the response to the Covid-19 pandemic continues and the Chancellor announced a further £38 billion to tackle the virus in 2020-21 and £55 billion to support the response to Covid-19 in 2021-22, including £2.6 billion for the devolved administrations. This funding is targeted and includes the purchase of successful vaccines and supporting public services and recovery, whilst also supporting jobs and businesses. The government is investing an additional £3.7 billion to build on the commitments made in the previous ‘Plan for Jobs’.

An increase in core spending power for local authorities was also announced by an estimated 4.5% along with over £3 billion of additional coronavirus support and an extra £254 millions of funding to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping.

Other measures outlined in the Spending Review included:

  • £400 million to recruit 6,000 new police officers – meaning the Government are on track to meet their manifesto pledge to recruit 20,000 more police officers by 2023.
  • More than £24 billion investment in defence – the biggest sustained increase in 30 years to provide security not just for the UK but around the world.
  • Capital spending of £100 billion next year, meaning vital investment in roads, rail, hospitals, schools, broadband, and housing.
  • A new Levelling Up Fund, worth £4 billion in England and £800 million in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, allow local communities to bid for investment
  • A new National Infrastructure Strategy, and a new UK infrastructure bank – headquartered in the north of England – to work with the private sector to finance major new investment projects across the UK.

Support for every country across the United Kingdom, increasing Scottish Government funding by £2.4 billion, Welsh Government funding by £1.3 billion, and £900 million for the Northern Ireland Executive.

Speaking after the Spending Review, Robin said:

“This was always going to be an incredibly challenging review to deliver in an unprecedented situation for our economy but, the Chancellor’s Spending Review tackles this head on and maintains crucial investment for the recovery and beyond – ensuring lives and livelihoods in Worcester are protected and supported over the coming year. ”

“I was elected at last year’s General Election on a commitment to level up communities like ours and I want to make sure that this vital work continues. Whilst I have been working closely with local councils to support the development of Worcester’s Towns Fund bid, I am pleased to see the next set of opportunities created through the Leveling Up Fund and the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.”

“Along with increases in the national living wage and support for those who have been impacted by the pandemic, this Conservative Government is now making good on its promises – by delivering a once-in-a-generation investment in infrastructure and innovation that will create jobs, grow the economy and increase pride in the place we call home.”

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, said:

“In the current environment it’s essential that we provide certainty. So, we’ll be doing that for departments and all the nations of the United Kingdom by setting budgets for next year, with a total focus on tackling Covid and delivering our Plan for Jobs.”

“Long term investment in our country’s future is the right thing to do, especially in areas which are the cornerstone of our society like the NHS, schools and infrastructure. We’ll make sure these areas crucial to our economic recovery have their budgets set for further years so they can plan and help us Build Back Better.”

ENDS

Notes to editors  

For the Chancellor’s Spending Review, please see:

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/spending-review-2020-speech

For more information on the Spending Review, please see:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/spending-review-2020-documents

https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/spending-review-2020

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/spending-review-to-fight-virus-deliver-promises-and-invest-in-uks-recovery