Monday 30 September 2019 12:01 am

Chancellor Sajid Javid unveils £17bn no-deal Brexit cushion

Sajid Javid will today unveil a package of spending pledges as the party goes on an election footing at its annual Conservative conference in Manchester.

The chancellor will double down on Boris Johnson’s pledge to leave the EU with or without a deal on 31 October, promising a £16.6bn so-called no-deal Brexit guarantee to cushion businesses, universities and charities from the loss of EU grants that will be triggered upon exit.

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Approximately £4.3bn will be distributed next year if Britain leaves the EU without an agreement on the set deadline of 31 October – a date the Prime Minister has pledged to meet “do or die”.

The chancellor will also announce what he describes as a major investment strategy, with billions going into motorways and the road network. Javid is expected to say his plans will “make the UK a better place to live and work, extending opportunity and raising living standards for all”.

The conference, which will continue until Wednesday, faced hurdles
before it officially kicked off at the end of last week with opposition parties voting against a commons recess to coincide with the event – meaning MPs could have to return to Westminster at any point.

The Tory conference, traditionally an opportunity for the party to amplify its election message, faces being overshadowed further after reports in the Sunday Times suggested that opposition MPs were exploring an unprecedented motion to impeach the Prime Minister while others called for his resignation.

Speaking yesterday, Boris Johnson pledged that he would continue to serve in the role and ruled out an electoral pact with Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party.

In today’s showpiece speech Javid will also announce a raft of domestic spending policies, including a relaxation of planning rules to boost housebuilding. The new measures will permit housebuilding on the green belt where there is already some development, and will allow houses to be built on existing commercial sites without prior planning permission.

Housing secretary Robert Jenrick is expected to say the so-called permitted in principle power will give “families the freedom they need to expand their homes and ensure small developers get a fair chance to succeed”.

The chancellor will also inject £25bn into motorway and major road
upgrades, stump up £220m for bus services across England and £5bn for the rollout of full-fibre broadband and 5G in the most remote areas of the UK.

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Javid is expected to say: “The truth is, successive governments failed to invest enough for the long term. We’ve started to put that right, but we can do more – a lot more.

“This government is going to build Britain’s future, and bring in a new infrastructure revolution. Infrastructure is the foundation of everything.”