The Spending Review normally details the money Government departments will be allocated to spend on a number of things like the NHS, education, roads and policing. In normal times, the Spending Review covers the next three to four years. But things have become so uncertain with Covid-19 that Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s review will only look forward to the next 12 months.
What time is the spending review?
The spending review will take place on Wednesday, November 24.
Express.co.uk contacted the Treasury, who said the Chancellor’s statement will almost certainly take place at 12.30pm, after Prime Minister’s Questions.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: “In the current environment it’s essential that we provide certainty.
“So we’ll be doing that for departments and all of 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.”
What can we expect from the spending review?
Chancellor Rishi Sunak is expected to use the spending review to reveal a new era of ‘pay restraint’ in a bid to plug the hole in the country’s finances caused by the worldwide economic lockdown.
Government sources said Mr Sunak believed it to be “unfair” five million public sector workers would continue getting inflation-based pay rises while millions of public sector employees are facing pay cuts and redundancy.
Unions have reacted with fury at the prospect of the pay freeze, with the Labour party saying it would be an “absolute kick in the teeth” for front-line workers.
The Government has also made many promises on investment and infrastructure, promising to lead a “levelling up” of wealth across the country during the 2019 election.
To deliver this pledge, the Government is expected to change the Treasury’s ‘green book’, which are rules determining the value of Government schemes which is thought to favour London and the south-east.
The Review is also expected to give details about the delayed National Infrastructure Strategy for £100billion in long-term spending to help tackle the climate change crisis.
The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) said the spending review is likely to see pre-existing investment plans tied into the aim of economic recovery.
Ben Zanko from the IFS said: “One thing to look out for is whether new funding is announced, or future funding is brought forward.”
The Chancellor is also expected to set out how much more money he thinks will be needed on the coronavirus pandemic.
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As of late July, departments had spent more than £70billion for day-to-day services during the pandemic, a figure that has since continued to rise according to the IFS.
Mr Sunk is expected to unveil a £3billion package to support the NHS in recovering from the pandemic, with the Treasury saying the NHS will get £1billion to address backlogs by catching up on checks, scans and operations delayed by the virus.
An estimated £1.5billion will be used to ease existing pressure on the health service, while £500million will be used to boost and support mental health services.
As the Brexit transition period with the EU draws ever closer, the Government will need to take into account some Brexit-related decisions on spending.
Over the past five years, the IFS says the Government has spent about £8billion on the divorce deal with Europe.
Some departments, like the Home Office, HM Revenue and Customs, and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, are likely to need extra money on a more permanent basis to deal with new issues that will arise as a result of Brexit.
Mr Zaranko added: “HMRC, for instance, will almost certainly need to employ tens of thousands of new customs agents.
“The Chancellor will also need to take numerous decision over replacements for existing EU spending done in the UK or on the UK’s behalf.
“This includes things like agricultural subsidies, research grants to UK universities, and regional support funds.”