Today the Chancellor set out his hotly anticipated Spending Review. Once intended to be a wide ranging review of government spending in support of the levelling up agenda, today’s announcement instead centered on steadying the economy and public services through the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. The Chancellor said his immediate priority was to protect people’s lives and livelihoods, deliver stronger public services and invest in infrastructure. This included a modest increase to the National Living Wage and pay rise worth £250 for low paid public sector workers.
At CAP, we welcomed this support but are disappointed that the Chancellor did not do more to smooth the road ahead for those already living in poverty. People across the UK are worried about the ongoing and uncertain impact the crisis will have on their personal finances, with 5.6 million estimated to already be struggling to afford essentials. Today was a missed opportunity to shore up the incomes of families who need extra support. We are urging ministers to make the Universal Credit £20 a week uplift permanent, further extending it to those on legacy benefits. This would make a massive difference to many families, give them peace of mind going into winter and offer them a lifeline during the pandemic recovery.