In ordinary circumstances, a Spending Review which marked the end of austerity would be front-page news, but with a general election all but guaranteed, and sooner rather than later, it’s unlikely to receive the attention it deserves. Brexit tumult still found a way to creep into proceedings with the opening few minutes more akin to a party political broadcast on Brexit than a spending review, but eventually, normal proceedings did commence with a flurry of announcements, including sizeable increases in spending for many departments. In total, the government has committed to an additional £13.8bn spending next year, and no government department receiving cuts (in real terms no less). Alongside the announcements of extra spending, a review of the current fiscal framework was announced, which will be needed given that many commentators and economists have pointed out that the announced spending commitments, combined with a slowdown in the economy, means the structural deficit is likely to rise above 2% of GDP (the current fiscal framework). A number of prominent think tanks, including the Institute for Fiscal Studies and the Resolution Foundation, have claimed that they will have likely breached these rules, particularly if the economy grows more slowly than the March forecast by the OBR.
Richard Sagar, Policy Manager at CFG has pulled together a briefing document with a summary of the announcements and important economic information.
Read the Spending Review Briefing
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