The Treasury today confirmed that a comprehensive three-year review of government spending had been ditched in favour of a one-year review because of the economic disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
“While the government would have liked to outline plans for the rest of this parliament, the right thing today is to focus entirely on the response to Covid-19 and supporting jobs — that’s what the public would expect,” a Treasury spokesperson said.
Instead of a three-year review of Whitehall spending across departments, chancellor Rishi Sunak will now set out a one-year plan in late November. The shorter review will focus on supporting jobs and helping public services deal with the impact of Covid-19.
“In the current environment it’s essential that we provide certainty,” said Sunak. “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.
“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,” the chancellor added.
It was also announced today that Sunak will make a statement to Parliament about the state of the UK economy tomorrow.
Last month the chancellor abandoned plans for an autumn budget in favour of the spending review, which would have set day-to-day budgets for government departments and the NHS, as well as block grants for the devolved administrations.
A spending review typically allows the government to allocate resources based on key policy focuses for the duration of their term, but the British government has not held a full spending review since 2015.