Budgets & fiscal events
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Public spending
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Economy and public finances

Rounding up

Putting the 2019 Spending Round into context

In his September 2019 Spending Round the Chancellor rightly declared he was “turning the page” on austerity and “writing a new chapter in our public services”. But he has also ripped up his own fiscal rulebook, almost certainly breaking the fiscal ‘mandate’ in the near-term and casting significant doubt over his ability to keep debt falling as a share of GDP over the coming years.

By setting out plans for a £13.8 billion or 4.1 per cent real-terms year-on-year increase in day-to-day departmental spending in 2020-21, he has certainly brought the austerity era for public services to a close. This is the biggest increase in a spending review since 2002, ensuring that no departmental budget in Whitehall will fall next year and most will experience significant real-terms increases.