The government has abandoned its long-term Comprehensive Spending Review amid economic uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Chancellor Rishi Sunak will now announce a one-year review in late November.

The Treasury said it was “the right thing” at the moment to “focus entirely” on protecting jobs and responding to the crisis. Economists had warned that the pandemic meant setting longer-term spending targets would prove difficult.

Last month, Mr Sunak scrapped plans for an autumn Budget in favour of the review, which would have set out how much each government department can spend but would not have included any changes to taxation. The Treasury had promised to use the spending review to help in “levelling up” opportunity across the country – a key Conservative manifesto promise.

Pledges included improving education and the NHS, funding scientific research and achieving the ambition of making the UK “zero-carbon” by 2050.

Announcing the spending review’s cancellation, Mr Sunak said: “In the current environment it’s essential that we provide certainty, so we’ll be doing that for departments and all of the nations of the United Kingdom by setting budgets for next year, with a total focus on tackling COVID and delivering our Plan for Jobs. Long-term investment in our country’s future is the right thing to do, especially in areas which are the cornerstone of our society, like the NHS, schools and infrastructure.”

Purnima Tanuku OBE, Chief Executive of National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA), said: “Despite the shorter window it is vital that the early years sector is prioritised in this spending review. The Government’s Plan for Jobs urgently needs a Plan for Childcare as part of our economic recovery. We have submitted a clear case for protecting the early years sector in this Spending Review and I have met with the Treasury and Ministers over the last few weeks. We’re campaigning hard for a fair settlement for childcare providers and will be working with our members to ensure their value is seen over the coming weeks. Childcare providers are an essential part of our social and educational infrastructure.

“But we know how many nurseries are in serious financial difficulties and must be supported, both in the short term to survive the pandemic but also in the longer term. If the Government is serious about levelling up opportunity across the country, they must invest in our children’s earliest years.”

The full story, as reported by the BBC can be found here.

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