Statement from Eastbourne and Willingdon MP Caroline Ansell regarding today’s spending review.
I would like to congratulate the Chancellor for doing his absolute best to protect lives and livelihoods in this spending review while balancing the need to look to the future with plans to invest in our United Kingdom to aid our recovery.
Extra money to fight the pandemic in the shape of billions to the NHS, local authorities and social care is most welcome in what will be a tough winter as we remain hopeful for a vaccine soon.
There is substantial investment and commitment to level up the country by helping the long-term unemployed, investing in schools, training and further education.
However, I really share the Chancellor’s concern that we are in the midst of an economic emergency brought on by coronavirus that must also be tackled too.
This emergency has already impacted private sector workers and is now to be felt with the freeze in public sector pay, although I applaud the Chancellor for announcing pay rises for those on the health frontline and on low incomes.
I am most concerned by a reduction, even temporary, in our overseas aid budget because it helps the world's poorest who are facing the same pandemic as we are but they do not have the same resources as we have.
At home, real long-term commitments that will help us recover from coronavirus have been put in place, such a £15 billion investment in research and development that will allow the UK to compete in new products and technologies in the areas of artificial intelligence and green and digital industries.
I also believe £100 billion of capital spending investment in roads, rail, hospitals, schools, broadband and housing will also help us long-term.
This is all certainly tackling the situation head on and I would like to thank the Chancellor and the government for all the help they have given Eastbourne since March.
The reduction in VAT has helped our hospitality and tourism sectors, a new hospital will be built, support for our businesses and jobs has been unprecedented and our borough council continues to receive money to help it deliver services during the pandemic.