When the Chancellor announced the Spending Review on Wednesday 25 November – setting out funding for government department’s next year. – it was a chance for the Conservative government to make responsible choices to set our country on the path to economic recovery.
However, they didn’t use it.
Instead, Rishi Sunak announced a public sector pay freeze, which will force our police, teachers, firefighters and community health workers who have been on the frontline of the pandemic, to cut back. In turn, they will have less to spend in our local businesses and on our high streets.
And despite acknowledging that unemployment is projected to rise to 2.6 million next year, the Chancellor failed to say whether they will cut Universal Credit when the temporary £20 increase made to it ends in April.
Millions of people already claiming Universal Credit and those who may have to claim the benefit in the coming months due to redundancy, now face a worrying and uncertain Christmas, not knowing how much money they will have to live off come Spring.
The choices made by the Chancellor are not only irresponsible, but also deeply unfair on certain people in our communities.
They will have a lasting impact on our national and local economy for years to come.