Sajid Javid promises end of austerity with one eye on election

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LONDON — Boris Johnson finally admitted he wants a general election, and his spending plans really gave the game away.

His chancellor, Sajid Javid, announced a spending round on Wednesday that laid the groundwork for an autumn campaign. Javid declared the “end of austerity” as he revealed that no government department will be cut in 2020-2021, announcing an overall increase in spending of £13.8 billion compared to the current year.

And he dropped a clear hint that the fiscal rules which were imposed to keep the spending taps tightened are set to be changed in the coming months.

As Johnson watched on and heckled the opposition, Javid laid out an unusual single-year spending round, saying he was “clearing the decks” for departments ahead of the October 31 Brexit date.

But the Tories clearly had another thing on their minds: How to fight Labour at the general election Britain is racing toward.

Javid was even told off twice by Commons Speaker John Bercow for “veering into matters … unrelated to the spending round” by attacking Labour.

When he finally moved onto the detail, the chancellor said he was delivering the “fastest increase in day to day spending in 15 years” at 4.1 percent across government offices, plus an extra £2 billion to prepare for a no-deal Brexit.

“I can announce today that no department will be cut next year,” he told the Commons. “Every single government department has had its budget for day-to-day spending increased at least in line with inflation. Thats what I mean by the end of austerity. Britains hard work paying off.”

The Home Office was handed a 6.7 percent real-terms increase in spending, including £750 million to fund the recruitment of police officers next year.

He announced a 6.2 percent increase for the NHS and an extra £1.5 billion for councils to cope with social care.

And the Department for Education will get £7.1 billion more by 2022-2023 compared with this year, Javid said, with each secondary school getting an extra £5,000 for every pupil.

Javid also announced he would review the “fiscal framework” — a set of rules imposed by former Chancellor George Osborne and updated by his successor Philip Hammond to keep spending tight — ahead of a budget next year.

The rules require the government to balance the books by the mid-2020s and to ensure debt is falling as a share of GDP by the end of the current parliament.

Javids spending review keeps within those restrictions, the Treasury insisted, because they are set against national forecasts published in March. But his plan to loosen the rules shows a clear desire to turnRead More – Source

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