Rishi Sunak has announced that he is scrapping a planned three-year comprehensive spending review in favour of a one-year Whitehall funding settlement as the Covid-19 crisis continues to wreak havoc with the economy.
A Spending Review sets the day-to-day budgets for each Whitehall department, the NHS, and block grants for devolved administrations for the following three years. It typically lets the government allocate resources to key policy areas for the duration of their parliament.
‘In the current environment it’s essential that we provide certainty,’ Chancellor Rishi Sunak said in a statement. ‘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-19 and delivering our Plan for Jobs.’
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.’