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Javid pledges spending review cash for schools, NHS and police

Chancellor Sajid Javid

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AFP

Chancellor Sajid Javid has promised increased spending on priority areas of schools, police and health.

Setting a 4 September date for the spending review, he said there would be no “blank cheque” for departments.

Mr Javid said he would stick to the current borrowing rules, limiting the scope for extensive spending increases.

Earlier, the government cancelled what would have been been Mr Javid’s first major speech, on Wednesday, a decision described by Labour as a “panic” move.

Ministerial sources said bringing forward the spending review was intended to provide certainty ahead of Brexit, which the government has promised will happen on 31 October.

But BBC political correspondent Nick Eardley said it also increases speculation that Prime Minister Boris Johnson is preparing the ground for a general election in the autumn – something that Downing Street denies.

Mr Javid said the government could afford to spend more on its priorities after a decade of cuts.

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, he said: “Thanks to the hard work of the British people over the last decade, we can afford to spend more on the people’s priorities – without breaking the rules around what the government should spend – and we’ll do that in a few key areas like schools, hospitals and police.

“But at the same time, it’s vital that we continue to live within our means as a country.

“Unlike the Labour Party, we don’t believe in just throwing money at a problem. And especially at a time when the global economy is slowing, it’s important that we don’t let our public finances get out of control. “

He said the departments for which he was funding increases were “lifelines of opportunity”, saying that his teachers put him on the path to be chancellor.

Schools are expected to be in line for an extra £4bn of funding in next week’s spending review.

Mr Javid also paid tribute to police for keeping his family safe when the street he grew up on became a centre for drug dealers, and to the health service for caring for his father in his final days.

“These aren’t just numbers on a spreadsheet. They’re the beating heart of our country,” he said.

‘Doesn’t inspire confidence’

Labour’s shadow chancellor John McDonnell criticised the decision to cancel Mr Javid’s speech at the last minute.

“Sajid Javid is getting a record of announcing events and initiatives, and then within hours cancelling or reversing them,” Mr McDonnell said.

“This doesn’t inspire confidence. Panic seems to be setting in inside government.”

Spending reviews normally happen every two to four years, but due to Brexit delays the last one took place in 2015.

Mr Javid said he asked for a 12-month spending round instead of a longer-term review.

Setting out day-to-day departmental budgets for 2020-21 will “clear the ground ahead of Brexit while delivering on people’s priorities”, he said.

Mr Javid said: “The next 65 days will see a relentless focus across Whitehall on preparing to leave the EU.”

Javid pledges spending review cash for schools, NHS and police}

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