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Spending Review shows Conservatives' commitment to fight coronavirus, deliver on its promises and invest in our recovery in Eddisbury

Eddisbury MP Edward Timpson has welcomed the Spending Review, which provides billions of pounds in the fight against coronavirus, delivers on the Conservative Party's promises made to the British people, and invests in the UK’s recovery.

On Wednesday, the Government set out an ambitious plan that focuses on levelling up across the country, investing in vital infrastructure that will ensure the UK builds back better from coronavirus.

As part of the Government’s commitments to fund the nation’s priorities, the Spending Review confirmed:

1.  A further £55 million to help with our response to coronavirus: including £18 billion for mass testing, Test & Trace, PPE and vaccines, and £3 billion to support NHS recovery.

2.  A funding boost for the NHS. Next year, the health budget will grow by £6.6 billion, allowing us to deliver 50,000 more nurses and 50 million more GP appointments. We are investing in new technologies, building 40 new hospitals, upgrading 70 more hospitals, and replacing the vast majority of ageing diagnostic equipment.

3.  More money for schools, meaning every pupil in the country will see a year-on-year funding increase of at least 2 per cent. We are also funding our commitment to rebuild 500 schools over the next decade, and are providing £375 million to deliver the Prime Minister’s Lifetime Skills Guarantee.

4.  £400 million to recruit 6,000 new police officers—meaning we are on track to meet our manifesto pledge to recruit 20,000 more police officers by 2023.

5.  More than £24 billion investment in defence—the biggest sustained increase in 30 years—allowing us to provide security not just for our country but around the world.

6.  An increase in core spending power for local authorities by an estimated 4.5 per cent, along with over £3 billion of additional coronavirus support and an extra £254 million of funding to tackle homelessness and rough sleeping.

7.  Capital spending of £100 billion next year, meaning vital investment in roads, rail, hospitals, schools, broadband and housing.

8.  A new Levelling Up Fund, worth £4 billion in England and £800 million in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, to build the infrastructure of everyday life.

9.  A new National Infrastructure Strategy, and a new UK infrastructure bank—headquartered in the north of England—to work with the private sector to finance major new investment projects across the UK.

10. Support for every country across the United Kingdom, increasing Scottish Government funding by £2.4 billion, Welsh Government funding by £1.3 billion, and £900 million for the Northern Ireland Executive.

Eddisbury MP Edward Timpson CBE said:

“While the health emergency facing our country is not yet over, the economic emergency has only just begun.

“The Chancellor’s Spending Review tackles this unprecedented situation head on—ensuring lives and livelihoods in Eddisbury are protected and supported in the weeks and months ahead.

“At the same time, I was elected at last year’s General Election on a commitment to level up communities like ours, and I am thrilled that this Conservative Government is now making good on that promise—by delivering a once-in-a-generation national investment in infrastructure that will create jobs, grow the economy and increase pride in the place we call home.

“The Government is putting its money where its mouth is locally in Eddisbury, and the award of £50,000 to start the process of reopening Beeston Castle & Tarporley railway station—one of only 15 such awards made nationwide—demonstrates our commitment to reconnecting communities and kickstarting our recovery from the pandemic.”

Chancellor of the Exchequer, The Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP said:

“Today’s Spending Review delivers the priorities of the British people. Our health emergency is not yet over, and the economic emergency has only just begun; so our immediate priority is to protect people’s lives and livelihoods.

“But today’s Spending Review also delivers stronger public services—paying for new hospitals, better schools and safer streets. And it delivers a once-in-a-generation transformation in our approach to infrastructure. Creating jobs, growing the economy, and increasing pride in the places people call home.”

Protecting people’s lives and livelihoods as we respond to coronavirus…

·      This year, the Government will spend over £280 billion on its response. Through the furlough scheme, support for the self-employed, loans, grants, tax cuts and tax deferrals, as well as extra funding for schools, local authorities, the NHS, charities, culture and sport, we are ensuring that we prioritise jobs, businesses and public services.

·      But this health crisis is not over, so this Spending Review confirms an additional £55 billion for next year for departments to respond to coronavirus, including:

o   £18 billion to fund our programmes on community testing, test and trace, PPE and vaccines.

o   £3 billion to support NHS recovery from the impacts of coronavirus, allowing them to carry out up to 1 million checks, scans and operations, boost mental health services, invest in the workforce, and ease existing pressures.

o   Over £2 billion to keep our transport arteries open, with funding to subsidise rail and bus networks.

o   Over £3 billion to local authorities, on the frontline of supporting vulnerable people through coronavirus.

o   £250 million to help end rough sleeping, and get people into long-term accommodation.

o   £2.6 billion to support the devolved administrations respond to coronavirus.

·      We are also doing more to build on our Plan for JobsLatest data shows the UK’s unemployment is lower than Italy, France, Spain, Canada and the United States. But there is always more we can do, which is why we are today announcing nearly £3 billion for a new, three-year programme to help nearly 1 million people who have been unemployed for over a year, find work.

·      We also want to do more for the lowest paid in society. That is why we are today accepting in full the recommendations of the Low Pay Commission to increase the National Living Wage by 2.2 per cent to £8.91, to extend this rate to those aged 23 or over, and to increase the National Minimum Wage as well. These increases will benefit around 2 million people—a full-time worker on the National Living Wage will see their pay rise by £345 next year, an effective increase of over £4,000 since the policy was introduced in 2016.

Delivering stronger public services – more hospitals, better schools, safer streets

·      We are boosting funding for the NHSNext year, the health budget will grow by £6.6 billion, allowing us to deliver 50,000 more nurses and 50 million more GP appointments. And we are increasing capital investment by £2.3 billion to invest in new technologies to modernise patient and staff experience, as well as building 40 new hospitals, upgrading 70 more and replace the vast majority of ageing diagnostic equipment.

·      We are investing more in social careToday’s settlement allows Local Authorities to increase their core spending power by 4.5 per cent, which follows the largest real terms increase in core spending power for a decade last year’s Spending Review. They will receive £300 million of new social care grant funding, and will have extra flexibility to increase council tax bills by 2 per cent and Adult Social Care Precept by 3 per cent. Taken together, this means an extra £1 billion to fund social care, which comes on top of the extra £1 billion social care grant we provided this year, which will be maintained into 2021-22.

·      We are getting on with our three-year investment plan for schoolsWe are reaffirming our commitment to increase the schools budget by £7.1 billion by 2022-23, compared to 2019-20. That’s the biggest school funding boost in a decade and includes an uplift of £2.2 billion for next year. Every pupil in the country will see a year-on-year funding increase of at least 2 per cent. We are also funding our commitment to rebuild 500 schools over the next decade.

·      We are committed to boosting skillsWe are committing £291 million to pay for more young people to go into further education, £1.5 billion to rebuild our colleges, and £375 million to deliver the Prime Minister’s Lifetime Skills Guarantee. We are also delivering funding to extend traineeships, sector-based work academies and the national careers service, as well as improving the way the apprenticeship system works for businesses.

·      We are making our streets safer by cracking down on crimeNext year, funding for the criminal justice system will increase by over £1 billion. We are providing more than £400 million to recruit 6,000 new police officers—meaning we are on track to meet our manifesto pledge to recruit 20,000 more police officers by 2023. We are also delivering £275 million for the criminal justice system to bring more offenders to justice, along with a four-year, £4 billion prison building programme to provide 18,000 new prison places across England and Wales.

·      We are strengthening the UK’s place in the worldThis country has and always will be open and outward-looking, leading in solving the world’s toughest problems. That is why we have announced more than £24 billion investment in defence—the biggest sustained increase in 30 years—allowing us to provide security not just for our country but around the world. We are also investing in our extensive diplomatic network, and providing more funding for new trade deals.

·      We also need to prioritise our domestic economic emergency. During a time when we need to prioritise jobs and public services, sticking rigidly to spending 0.7 per cent of our national income on overseas aid is difficult to justify to the British people. We will continue to meet our commitment to the world’s poorest, spending the equivalent of 0.5 per cent of GNI on overseas aid in 2021, allocating £10 billion in this Spending Review. Based on the latest OECD data, this would make the UK the second highest aid donor in the G7—higher than Italy, Japan, Canada and the US—and considerably higher than the average of the 29 countries on the OECD’s development assistance committee, which in 2019, was just 0.38 per cent. Our intention is to return to 0.7 per cent when the fiscal situation allows.

Delivering our record investment plans in infrastructure to drive growth, create jobs and level up…

·      We are today providing a number of multi-year capital settlements for roads, rail, hospitals, schools, broadband and housing. We are also publishing a National Infrastructure Strategy, outlining our long-term vision for infrastructure investment. This will go alongside a refreshed Green Book, to ensure that infrastructure projects deliver the Government’s key priorities to level up the country.

o   A £7.1 billion National Home Building Fund, on top of our £12.2 billion Affordable Homes Programme.

o   Better mobile connectivity with 4G coverage across 95 per cent of the UK by 2025.

o   The biggest investment in new roadsrailways, cycle lanes and over 800 zero emission buses.

o   £15 billion of new funding for research and development next year.

o   Delivering the PM’s ten-point plan for climate change, creating 250,000 new green jobs across the UK.

·      We are launching a new Levelling Up Fund—worth £4 billion in England, which will attract £800 million in the usual way in Barnett for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. People want to be able to look at their towns and villages and see change in the places they call home. That is why our new fund will build the infrastructure of everyday life – such as new bypasses, upgraded railway stations, less traffic, more libraries, museums and galleries, and better high streets and town centres. Local areas in England will be able to bid directly to fund local projects of up to £20 million which must be delivered in this Parliament, and projects must command real support, including of their Member of Parliament. The Treasury, which will jointly run the fund with DfT and MHCLG, will set out more details in due course. This fund will replace previously disparate funding streams, enabling the Government to take a more effective, joined-up, place-based approach to local needs.

Unleashing the power of our union…

·      This is a Spending Review for the whole of the United Kingdom. Through the Barnett formula, today’s decisions increase Scottish Government funding by £2.4 billion, Welsh Government funding by £1.3 billion, and £900 million for the Northern Ireland Executive.

·      We will accelerate four City and Growth Deals in Scotland—helping Moray, Tay Cities, Borderlands and the Scottish Islands create jobs and prosperity in their areas. These add to the total of twenty City and Growth Deals across our country, demonstrating the long-term commitment of the UK Government to strengthening the union.

·      The Treasury is a department for the whole of the United KingdomIn Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, over 1.4 million jobs have been protected under the furlough scheme, and almost £6 billion in business loans have been granted to 165,000 SMEs under Bounce Back Loans and the CBIL Scheme.

·      Furthermore, much of the funding we are confirming at this Spending Review is UK-wideincluding the UK Shared Prosperity Fund, Gigabit broadband rollout, Shared Rural Network, R&D funding, climate change pledges on Carbon Capture and Storage and hydrogen, increased investment in UK culture and sport, and our record-breaking defence settlement.

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