Yesterday, chancellor Rishi Sunak announced that the economy is ‘back on track’ as he unveiled his Autumn budget. A few of the big announcements had already been teased over the weekend and Sunak got a ticking off from the Madam Speaker, Eleanor Laing, for releasing too much to the press ahead of time.
Outlining his plans to build a new post-Covid economy, we saw a tax cut for sparkling wine and beer, a half-price business rates cut for cinemas and shops, and a cut in Air Passenger Duty. Here’s a summary of the key measures announced, written up by our own Jo Clark:
- We were briefed over the weekend that the spending review would include £2.6 billion over the next three years to create school places for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities
- Also announced was an additional £4.7 billion for the core schools’ budget in England
- The Chancellor announced that English councils would be receiving £1.6 billion of new grant funding in each of the next three years, on top of the funding to implement social care reform
- The extra cash means the Department for Levelling up, Housing & Communities’ funding for local government will increase by 9.4% over the three-year spending review period, to £12.5bn by 2024-25. This is a larger percentage increase than any other government department
- First round of Levelling Up Fund (£1.7bn) bids allocated to 100 local areas including Aberdeen, Bury, Burnley, Lewes, Clwyd South and Stoke-on-Trent – along with Labour areas of Ashton under Lyne, Doncaster, South Leicester, Sunderland and West Leeds.
- The Chancellor promised £65 million to ramp up England’s planning system, including digitisation to make local plans easier to access and £9 million to help local authorities create 100 new urban “pocket parks” across UK
- An end to the public sector pay freeze, benefiting many of Britain’s key workers including nurses, teachers, police and prison officers
- £2.1 billion over the next three years to support innovative use of digital technology so hospitals and other care organisations are as connected and efficient as possible, freeing up valuable NHS staff time and ensuring the best care for patients wherever they are
Military, police and justice
- Extra £2.2bn announced for courts, prisons and probation services, including £500,000 to reduce the courts backlogs