Here’s just a few things on first blush that are wrong with today’s spending review:
• Universal Credit – the Government did not take the opportunity to do the right thing and make the £20 uplift to Universal Credit permanent.
• Excluded – It was shameful that there was nothing to reassure the 3 million people excluded from the Governments pandemic support schemes so far. People are struggling and some have sadly taken their own lives. The UK is the fifth richest nation in the world and yet it lags behind its closest neighbours such as Ireland in providing comprehensive coronavirus support.
• Public Sector pay freeze – this was quite simply economically nonsensical – According to the TUC a public sector pay boost would benefit the economy by as much as £2.1bn. Instead many of those who kept us going in this pandemic will get nothing but our admiration.
• Green New Deal – Nothing extra for the radical Green Industrial Revolution that could rebuild the whole country after this pandemic. Analysis from Carbon Brief of the Government’s 10 point Green Industrial Revolution stated that it translates to only 50% of the required emissions cuts to meet our Carbon Budgets, yet there was nothing additional today to rectify this gaping hole.
The UK economy has been one of the worst hit of all advanced OECD economies in this pandemic so tackling climate change was our chance to rebuild. Yet whilst Germany has committed 40bn to its green recovery, the UK has seen a paltry 12bn, much of which is repackaged spending.
• Cladding/Fire Safety – It was astounding that there was no extra money to fix unsafe flats. The Government is well aware that the current Building Safety Fund is a mere speck of what is required.
• Overseas aid cut – The government is reducing the overseas aid budget to 0.5 per cent of gross national income in 2021 affecting the world’s poorest and our ability to tackle global climate change.
• 4bn levelling up pot – after 10 years of levelling down parts of the country the Government has provided us with a little pot of money that we will all have to fight over…. the cost of one town centre regeneration could be upwards of 100million alone so not many areas will likely be successful in securing funding for big regeneration projects from this pot.