Chancellor announces date for one-year Covid spending review

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Chancellor Rishi Sunak has set a date for next month’s spending review, in which Downing Street has suggested he could announce extra support to feed families through the holidays.

Mr Sunak has announced he will unveil his spending plans for next year on Wednesday November 25.

The Government had already confirmed that it was scrapping a planned multi-year spending review and instead will hold only a one-year review due to the focus on dealing with the current pandemic.

Marcus Rashford
England footballer Marcus Rashford has led a campaign to make free school meals available during the holidays (Fareshare/Mark Waugh)

Following pressure from a campaign by England footballer Marcus Rashford for the Government to extend free school meal provisions during the holidays, Number 10 hinted this week that Mr Sunak could announce extra support as part of the fiscal package.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman pointed reporters to comments from Health Secretary Matt Hancock that “the spending review sets out any future funding on behalf of the Government”.

Mr Sunak will use his review to set departmental resources and capital budgets for 2021-22, and the devolved administrations’ block grants for the same period.

Funding for the NHS and schools will remain multi-year, along with priority infrastructure projects.

The shift to a single-year review will have a knock-on impact on the wider programme examining the UK’s defence spending and foreign policy priorities.

The integrated review of security, defence, development and foreign policy is intended to define the Government’s vision for the UK’s role in the world over the next decade.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said last week: “We are considering the implications of the one-year spending review on the integrated review and we will provide an update on that in due course.”

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