Spending review, new tiers, and a Government in distraction

Spending review, new tiers, and a Government in distraction


We saw two significant political events take place last week; with the Spending Review announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak on Wednesday, just a day before the announcement of the UK’s new ‘stricter’ three-tier system. Both will have a major effect on the lives of millions over the coming years.

Looking first at the new rules by Prime Minister Boris Johnson for when the UK leaves it’s second national lockdown on Wednesday 2 December 2020, the majority of people will continue to face restrictions – but focused mostly on their social lives, with restrictions on household mixing indoors and a return to the rule of six for outdoor diners.

When facing the deepest recession in three centuries it is unsurprising that the Government is doing all it can to keep people in work. This was reflected too in the Chancellors one-year Spending Review, with further infrastructure packages and employment subsidies for young people to enter into employment.

Trade-offs have of course been made, most prominently in a freeze on the pay of 1.3m public sector employees (with carve-outs for most NHS workers and those earning less than £24,000), and a £4bn cut to the Foreign Aid budget from 0.7% 0.5% of of the UK’s total national income – the latter which has been most controversial.

The loss of this foreign aid commitment and a major source of global soft power was decried by former Prime Ministers, NGOs, and progressive thinkers alike and triggered the resignation of Foreign Office Minister Lady Sugg.

Without getting into the politics of it, it is a shame that with just a little over a month until we leave the EU, and in the year that UK will host COP26, we are abandoning the one remaining policy area where the UK has been an international leader and where we can make such a difference.

The Spending Review was also notable for having no mention of Brexit. Presumably, the Chancellor is as sick of the subject as the rest of us, but with the Governor of the Bank of England warning that the financial impacts are likely to be greater from Brexit than from COVID, perhaps we should ask the Government to cut through the tedium and start paying attention.

On this subject, many thanks to all who attended our Brexit webinars last week. If you missed it don’t stress – we have you covered, click the link to watch all of the videos and download the presentations: https://ttf.co.uk/webinars/

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