Spending Review announcement hints that planned public service spending increases could be held back

Commenting on the Chancellor’s Autumn Spending Review announcement today, Torsten Bell, Chief Executive of the Resolution Foundation, said:

“The Chancellor has today set out what looks like a technical announcement about the process for the Autumn Spending Review. But what he has really done is give himself more flexibility to reduce the size of public spending increases over the coming years, rowing back on significant increases announced as recently as March.

“The planned 2.8 per cent real terms growth a year has now become a far vaguer promise of some growth in real terms. This could mean very tough times for some public services in the years ahead.

“This extra room for manoeuvre is not surprising given the huge, and hugely uncertain, impact of covid on the UK economy and public finances since the March Budget. But doing so in the small print of a press release is far from the best way for major policy shifts to be announced.”