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Priti Patel bullying inquiry concluded ‘Home Secretary broke ministerial behaviour rules’

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/politics/priti-patel-bullying-inquiry-broke-behaviour-rules-b74296.html

Priti Patel bullying inquiry concluded ‘Home Secretary broke ministerial behaviour rules’
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draft report about Priti Patel’s conduct concluded in the summer that she broke the rules on ministers’ behaviour,  it has been claimed.

A Cabinet Office investigation was launched in March over reports that Ms Patel belittled colleagues and clashed with senior officials in three different departments.

Sir Philip Rutnam, who was the Home Office’s permanent secretary, quit earlier this year accusing Ms Patel of a “vicious and orchestrated briefing campaign” against him.

He added that his decision to resign was with “great regret after a career of 33 years”.

Ms Patel has strongly denied all allegations of bullying.

The report has not been published, but a source told BBC News the report concluded that the “Home Secretary had not met the requirements of the ministerial code to treat civil servants with consideration and respect”.

They told the BBC the investigation had found evidence of bullying, even if it had not been intentional.

A second source added that the report was “unambiguous in stating that Priti Patel broke the ministerial code and that the prime minister buried it”.

<p>Sir Philip said he had been the target of a ‘vicious and orchestrated briefing campaign’</p>
(

Sir Philip said he had been the target of a ‘vicious and orchestrated briefing campaign’

/ PA )

Labour has called on the Government to make the report public as the party said reports that Ms Patel will be issued with a warning were “incredibly serious”.

According to reports in the Financial Times, the probe is due to be concluded “imminently” but Boris Johnson is expected to only issue Ms Patel with a written warning, rather than dismissing her from the Cabinet.

Citing unnamed Whitehall officials, the paper said the Prime Minister was intending to “fudge” the outcome of the report which has “robust criticisms” of Ms Patel’s behaviour.

Shadow home secretary Nick Thomas-Symonds said: “Reports that the Home Secretary is to receive a written warning for conduct in government are incredibly serious.

Sir Philip Rutnam Resigns ‘After Clashes With Priti Patel’

“The role of Home Secretary comes with huge levels of responsibility and trust. It is now vital that the full report is published without delay, so the public can have full confidence in the decision-making process.”

Dave Penman, general secretary of senior civil servants’ union the FDA, said: “In his foreword to the ministerial code, Boris Johnson said: ‘There must be no bullying and no harassment’.

“If, as is being suggested, substance has been found in some of the allegations against the Home Secretary, then the Prime Minister should have no choice but to conclude that the code has been breached.

“As Prime Minister, he is the sole arbiter of the ministerial code but he is also Minister for the Civil Service.

“Having pledged his support for the Home Secretary when the investigation began, and now sat on the report since the summer, he has already undermined confidence in this being a fair and impartial process.”

A spokesman for the home secretary told the BBC she had always denied the allegations and that there had never been any formal complaints made against her.

A government spokesperson said: “The process is ongoing and the prime minister will make any decision on the matter public once the process has concluded.”

The Evening Standard has contacted the Home Secretary for any further comment.

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Spending Review key points: From minimum wage rise to unemployment forecasts – what we learnt from Rishi Sunak

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/minimum-wage-rishi-sunak-spending-review-explained-b79207.html

Spending Review key points: From minimum wage rise to unemployment forecasts – what we learnt from Rishi Sunak
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ritain is facing an “economic emergency”, the Chancellor warned today as he announced a pay freeze for most public sector workers and cuts to foreign aid funding.

Addressing the House of Commons, Mr Sunak admitted: “Our health emergency is not yet over. And our economic emergency has only just begun.”

Here we set out the key points from his sobering Spending Review — starting with what it actually is.

<p>Rishi Sunak set out his Spending Review before MPs</p>
(

Rishi Sunak set out his Spending Review before MPs

/ PA )

What actually was the Spending Review?

On Wednesday, the Treasury set out how much taxpayers’ money will be allocated to the various branches of government and the devolved administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Typically this is a multi-year settlement but, because of the economic uncertainty caused by Covid-19, Mr Sunak only set out the figures for 2021/22.

What was announced?

Public sector pay

– More than 1 million nurses, doctors and others in the NHS will get a pay rise from next year, but for the rest of the public sector any increase will be paused.

– This will affect around 2.1 million people, including firefighters, teachers, the armed forces, police, civil servants, council and Government agency staff.

– However, the lowest paid public sector staff – those earning below £24,000 – will see their pay increased by at least £250.

National minumum wage and unemployment

– For those in work, the national living wage will increase by 2.2 per cent to £8.91 an hour. It had been expected to increase to as much as £9.21.

– It will also be extended to 23 and 24-year-olds for the first time.

– The Government said the increase was likely to benefit around two million of the lowest-paid workers.

– Unemployment is forecast to hit 2.6 million by the middle of 2021, official forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) said.

– To help cope with this, the Chancellor set out a nearly £3 billion Restart programme to help get people back into work.

Economic growth

– It will take until the end of 2022 for the economy to return to its pre-pandemic size, according to the Chancellor.

– The economy will contract this year by 11.3 per cent – the largest fall in output for more than 300 years, according to OBR forecasts.

– It expects the economy to start recovering once Covid restrictions are lifted, growing by 5.5 per cent next year, 6.6 per cent in 2022, then 2.3 per cent, 1.7 per cent and 1.8 per cent the following years.

– The pandemic is likely to have caused “long-term scarring”, meaning in 2025, the economy will be around three per cent smaller than expected in the March Budget.

Government spending and cuts

– Mr Sunak said the Government was spending £280 billion this year to get the country through the coronavirus crisis.

– Total Government department spending next year will be £540 billion, with day-to-day departmental spending rising, in real terms, by 3.8 per cent.

– A new UK infrastructure bank – based in the north of England – to finance major new projects is set to be established.

– A £4 billion “levelling up” fund to finance local infrastructure improvement projects will also be created, Mr Sunak said.

– The Chancellor said that through the Barnett formula, Scottish Government funding will increase by £2.4 billion and Welsh Government funding by £1.3 billion, with £0.9 billion for the Northern Ireland Executive.

– The overseas aid budget will be cut to 0.5 per cent of gross national income in 2021, breaking a Tory manifesto commitment first enshrined in law by David Cameron. Mr Sunak said the Government’s “intention” was to return to 0.7 per cent when the fiscal situation allows. In 2019 the total aid budget was £15.2 billion.

Borrowing and debt

– The UK is forecast to borrow a total of £394 billion this year, equivalent to 19 per cent of GDP – the highest recorded level of borrowing in peacetime history, according to Mr Sunak.

– Underlying debt is forecast to be 91.9 per cent of GDP this year and is predicted to continue rising, reaching 97.5 per cent of GDP in 2025/26.

How has the Spending Review been received?

Baroness Sugg, whose brief included sustainable development, said pledges should be kept in the “tough times as well as the good” and branded the move “fundamentally wrong”.

Shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds condemned the pay freeze for public sector workers and claimed the Spending Review “takes a sledgehammer to consumer confidence”.

However, Confederation of British Industry chief economist Rain Newton-Smith said the Spending Review “lays the foundations for a brighter economic future” but “ambition must be matched by action on the ground”.

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UK coronavirus LIVE: Rishi Sunak’s Spending Review sees national living wage rise as public sector pay increases ‘paused’

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/uk-coronavirus-live-updates-christmas-spending-review-london-b79007.html

UK coronavirus LIVE: Rishi Sunak’s Spending Review sees national living wage rise as public sector pay increases ‘paused’

He explained that the Office for Budget Responsibility did not expect the economy to return to its pre-crisis levels until the end of 2022, with unemployment peaking at 2.6 million in the second quarter of 2021.

Live updates

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A couple of key takeaways from Rishi Sunak’s Spending Review

Finances face a chill wind

Mr Sunak painted a grim picture of the public purse as he told MPs the economic emergency caused by the pandemic has only just begun and there will be “long-term scarring”.

He said the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) did not expect the economy to return to its pre-crisis levels until the end of 2022 and the damage was likely to last.

The budget watchdog’s forecast expects Gross Domestic Product (GDP) – the total value of all goods and services in the UK – to shrink by 11.3 per cent next year – the largest annual fall since the Great Frost of 1709 when much of Europe was hit by a bitter cold spell.

The Chancellor said underlying debt would continue rising, reaching 97.5 per centof GDP by 2025-26, but he stressed that “the costs of inaction would have been far higher”.

Mr Sunak did not once mention the B-word in his almost 3,000 word-long statement.

But with just 37 days to go until the end of the transition period, Brexit did feature heavily in the OBR’s report.

It forecast that, even with a free trade deal with the European Union, there would be a “four per cent long-run loss of output”.

A no-deal would lead to a further two per cent drop, a move that would also have an impact on employment and consumer prices, it suggested.

UK coronavirus LIVE: Rishi Sunak’s Spending Review sees national living wage rise as public sector pay increases ‘paused’
( PA )
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Manchester ‘more likely than not’ to enter Tier 3 -Burnham

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said it was “more likely than not” the area would be made subject to Tier 3 restrictions.

Speaking at an online press conference, he said: “We don’t know what tier we will be in, that still has not been communicated to us. I think it is fair to say we are heading at some speed to Tier 3, Tier 2 borderline, given the figures.”

He said although infection numbers in Greater Manchester were still high, the rates were falling.

He added: “If things continue in this direction at the rate at which we are seeing change in Greater Manchester, I would want to ask the Government for a serious review of Greater Manchester’s position at the first review of tiering arrangements which is scheduled to take place two weeks from now.”

Mr Burnham said he did not agree with the Tier 3 measures which had been put forward by the Government.

He said: “Tier 3, in my view, is too punishing on hospitality and will be too hard on city centres, particularly as we go through Christmas and the New Year period.”

( Andy Burnham described the top tier as ‘too punishing’ / AFP via Getty Images )
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Chris Whitty: We may see a ‘steady’ return to normality by spring

Life could start to steadily return to normal around spring time, England’s chief medical officer has said.

Professor Chris Whitty said that a return to normality would be a steady process and would not happen “immediately”.

The comments come as the nation’s top medic spoke at the ukactive summit on the importance of exercise.

He said that being active is “central to health” but many people have reduced their levels of exercise during the coronavirus pandemic.

However, others have increased the amount of exercise they do, particularly when exercise was one of the main reasons to leave the house.

Prof Whitty said: “One of the real problems in 2020 – one of the ways Covid has damaged health – is, for some people, making it more difficult for them to do exercise.”

He added: “For some people the amount of exercise has gone up. They’ve concentrated much of their leisure time on exercise.

“But there is no doubt that the Covid crisis has made it harder for many people to do exercise.”

He said that although a return to normality would be “steady”, he hoped it would happen by spring.

“As we come out of the Covid crisis, which is not going to be immediate but is going to be steady… spring is a point where many of us hope that things will begin to normalise,” he said.

“But (it won’t be) straight back to normal in one band. It is very important that we get people who have got out of the habit of regular exercise back in the situation where they are doing so and encourage others who have taken up exercise in a way they previously hadn’t to continue to do so.

“We need to think this through because exercise is so central.

“Exercise is the single simplest and most important thing people can do to improve their physical and mental health.”

( Chris Whitty, Chief Medical Officer for England, / REUTERS )
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Tomorrow will see England carved up into tiers, with some regions battling to protect themselves from the toughest rules…

Lancashire’s council leaders have submitted a proposal to the Government to divide the county into two different tiers when the lockdown ends next week.

A request has been made for Hyndburn, Rossendale, Burnley, Pendle and Preston to go into Tier 3 restrictions while Fylde, Wyre, Lancaster, Chorley, South Ribble, Ribble Valley and West Lancashire would go into Tier 2.

Shaun Turner, cabinet member for health and wellbeing at Lancashire County Council, said: “We are seeing rates reduce across almost all parts of the county and that is down to the hard work and sacrifices of our residents. I can only thank everyone for playing their part.

“With lower rates we believe it is appropriate for some parts of the county to go into Tier 2 and hope it will be very soon before they are joined by the rest of the county.”

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In case you missed today’s session of PMQs…

The Speaker was being his usual no-nonsense self:

1606319258

‘Shame’ at Government’s cut to aid spending

A former Conservative Foreign Office minister has said she feels “ashamed” that the Government is cutting the UK’s aid spending.

Harriet Baldwin told the Commons: “I personally feel ashamed that the manifesto pledge we are breaking today is our promise to the world’s poorest.”

Tom Tugendhat, chairman of the Commons Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs Select Committee, said it was “not exactly the right moment” to cut aid given the challenges of Covid-19.

He added: “At a time when aid has never been more needed in extending the perimeter of our public health to countries where otherwise the Covid crisis would run wild surely this is not exactly the right moment to reducing those defences.”

Labour’s Toby Perkins (Chesterfield), meanwhile, warned many pubs “will never reopen their doors again” unless the Government provides a sector-specific deal for the sector.

Rishi Sunak sat down at 3.22pm having answered questions in the chamber for two hours and 37 minutes.

1606318839

PM’s response to minister’s resignation over aid spending cut:

Boris Johnson’s response to Baroness Sugg read: “Thank you for your letter informing me of your resignation as Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, and as my Special Envoy for Girls’ Education. I was very sorry to receive it.

“I am extremely grateful for your service as a Government minister in recent years, and in particular for everything you have done since I became Prime Minister last year. You have given outstanding service through your work in the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office, and previously in the Department for International Development. You have been at the forefront of the UK’s leading role in international development, and your efforts in support of girls’ education in particular have been instrumental.

“Your work has made a difference to millions of girls around the world, and will stand us in good stead for the Global Partnership for Education replenishment event next year. In addition, your leadership and rigour in the lead up to and during the Africa Investment Summit made it the enormous success it was.

“Your passion and commitment to your work has been clear to civil servants and your Ministerial colleagues, and I know that the FCDO will miss you.”

1606318513

Breaking: Minister resigns over overseas aid cut

Foreign Office minister Baroness Sugg has resigned in protest at the cut in overseas aid announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak, branding it “fundamentally wrong”.

1606317676

Unions accuse Government of letting down low-paid workers

The Government was accused of letting down millions of workers with its announcement of new rates for the national living wage.

The statutory rate will increase by 2.2 per cent from £8.72 to £8.91 next April and will be extended to 23 and 24-year-olds for the first time.

The Government said the increase was likely to benefit around two million of the lowest-paid workers.

The Low Pay Commission had previously proposed a figure of £9.21 an hour.

Chairman Bryan Sanderson said: “Recommending minimum wage rates in the midst of an economic crisis coupled with a pandemic is a formidable task.

“The difficulty in looking forward even to next April is daunting.

“There are strong arguments concerning both low-paid workers, many performing critically important tasks, and the very real solvency risks to which small businesses are currently exposed.

“In these unprecedented conditions, stability and competence are prime requirements.

“We have opted for a prudent increase which consolidates the considerable progress of recent years and provides a base from which we can move towards the Government’s target over the next few years.”

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said workers had been let down by the Government’s decision to “row back” on the full rise.

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Analysis: Why the economic gloom behind Rishi Sunak’s spending plans made it far too soon to be talking about tax rises

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Rishi Sunak unveils post-Covid vision with £4billion spending boost but warns of debt and unemployment

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/politics/rishi-sunak-spending-review-plans-b79147.html

Rishi Sunak unveils post-Covid vision with £4billion spending boost but warns of debt and unemployment
R

ishi Sunak today unveiled his vision for post-Covid Britain with a £4 billion “levelling-up” fund — but warned unemployment could first hit 2.6 million and borrowing more than £760 billion over four years.

The Chancellor announced the extra billions for better high streets and town centres, new bypasses, upgraded railway stations, traffic-cutting measures, and more libraries, museums, and galleries to seek to ensure all areas of the UK benefits from the nation’s wealth.

In a confident performance that will fuel talk of Mr Sunak’s potential as Boris Johnson’s successor, he unleashed a whole series of spending commitments on three priorities; to deal with the Covid crisis, meeting public services pledges and investing in infrastructure.

However, future generations will almost certainly be left picking up the bill for some of the expenditure given the huge borrowing being built up.

* The independent Office for Budget Responsibility is forecasting that the economy will shrink this year by 11.3 per cent, “the largest fall in output for more than 300 years”. As the restrictions are eased, it is then expected to grow by 5.5 per cent next year, 6.6 per cent in 2022, then 2.3 per cent, 1.7 per cent and 1.8 per cent in the following years

* Britain’s economic output is not expected to return to pre-crisis levels until the fourth quarter of 2022 and “long-term scarring” means that in 2025,the economy will be around three per cent smaller than expected in the March Budget  

* Nearly £3 billion will be spent on a new, three-year Restart Programme  to help over one million people who have been out of work for over a year to find new work, with unemployment forecast to rise to a peak in the second quarter of next year, of 7.5 per cent,  2.6 million people.

* The Government was providing £280 billion this year to get the country through the coronavirus crisis.

* The overseas aid budget will be cut from 0.7 per cent of national income to 0.5 per cent, risking a furious clash with MPs, five former Prime Ministers, and campaigners. Mr Sunak said: “Our intention is to return to 0.7 per cent when the fiscal situation allows.”

* Now was not the time for tax rises, but the OBR is warning that tens of billions of hikes or cuts in public spending may be needed in coming years. The Chancellor said: “We have a responsibility, once the economy recovers, to return to a sustainable fiscal position.”

* The National Living Wage will increase by 2.2 per cent to £8.91 an hour.

* The NHS will get an extra £3 billion, including £1 billion to address the treatment backlogs built up during the epidemic.

* The Ministry of Defence is getting a boost of more than £16 billion over four years.

* Total Government department spending next year will be £540 billion, with day-to-day departmental spending rising, in real terms, by 3.8 per cent.

Mr Sunak also outlined his hopes for the country and society in future years, which is likely to increase speculation over whether he could one day be heading for No10.

He said: “We in Government can set the direction, better schools, more homes, stronger defence, safer streets. .green energy, technological development, improved roads, enhanced rail. .all investments that will create jobs and give every person in this country the chance to meet their potential.

Rishi Sunak unveils post-Covid vision with £4billion spending boost but warns of debt and unemployment
( PA )

“But it is the individual, the family, and the community that must become stronger, healthier and happier as a result. This is the true measure of our success.”

He added: “The spending announced today is secondary to the courage, wisdom, kindness and creativity it unleashes. These are the incalculable but essential parts of our future, and they cannot be mandated or distributed by government. These things must come from each of us, and be shared freely, because the future, this better country, is a common endeavour. Today Government has funded the priorities of the British people, now the job of delivering them, begins.”

Mr Sunak also announced £600 million for roads, rail and other housing infrastructure aimed at tackling London’s homes crisis.

The Chancellor unveiled the investment as part of a four-year £7.1 billion National Home Building Fund as he sought to inject hope into a dire set of economic figures on the debt and jobs crisis facing Britain.

The East London Line will get an £80 million boost to “unlock” over 14,000 homes in Southwark and Lewisham.

Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds accused the Government of being too slow in responding to rising unemployment, stressing: “With Britain in the grip of a jobs crisis, there’s no time for delay and no margin for error.”

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Rishi Sunak squeezes public sector pay but vows rises for NHS doctors and nurses

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/uk/rishi-sunak-nhs-pay-rises-public-sector-pause-spending-review-b79149.html

Rishi Sunak squeezes public sector pay but vows rises for NHS doctors and nurses
C

hancellor Rishi Sunak has said that NHS doctors and nurses will receive a pay rise, but pay rises in the rest of the public sector will be “paused” next year.

Mr Sunak outlined a plan for vast spending to recover the nation’s finances from the coronavirus crisis at his spending review on Wednesday.

The Chancellor highlighted a disparity between public sector and private sector wages, adding he “cannot justify a significant, across-the-board” pay increase for all public sector workers in the circumstances.

“Taking account of the pay review bodies’ advice, we will provide a pay rise to over a million nurses, doctors and others working in the NHS,” Mr Sunak told MPs.

“Second, to protect jobs, pay rises in the rest of the public sector will be paused next year. But third, we will protect those on lower incomes. The 2.1 million public sector workers who earn below the median wage of £24,000, will be guaranteed a pay rise of at least £250.”

The Chancellor said the “majority” of public sector workers will see their pay increase next year.

Mr Sunak also revealed the minimum wage will increase by 2.2 per cent to £8.91 an hour, with this rate extended to those aged 23 and over.

Rishi Sunak squeezes public sector pay but vows rises for NHS doctors and nurses
( PA )

He said: “Taken together, these minimum wage increases will likely benefit around two million people.”

On departmental spending, the Chancellor said it will total £540 billion next year before noting: “Over this year and next, day-to-day departmental spending will rise, in real terms, by 3.8 per cent – the fastest growth rate in 15 years.”

Shadow education secretary Kate Green said the pay freeze for public sector workers outside the NHS was a “kick in the teeth for dedicated early years workers, teachers, teaching assistants and support staff who’ve been working flat out to educate children during Covid”.

“They deserve better,” she added.

Labour’s shadow chancellor accused Mr Sunak of going from clapping for carers to giving them a pay freeze.

Anneliese Dodds told the Commons: “Earlier this year the Chancellor stood on his doorstep and clapped for key workers.

“Today his Government institutes a pay freeze for many of them. This takes a sledgehammer to consumer confidence.”

Meanwhile the Trades Union Congress said on Twitter: “Workers on the national minimum wage – not least the two million who are key workers – have been let down by the Government’s decision to row back on the full planned rise they were promised.

Mr Sunak told the Commons schools budgets will increase next year by £2.2 billion, before he turned to a temporary cut in overseas aid spending.

“During a domestic fiscal emergency, when we need to prioritise our limited resources on jobs and public services, sticking rigidly to spending 0.7 per cent of our national income on overseas aid is difficult to justify to the British people – especially when we’re seeing the highest peacetime levels of borrowing on record,” said the Chancellor.

“I have listened with great respect to those who have argued passionately to retain this target. But at a time of unprecedented crisis, government must make tough choices.”

He said 0.5 per cent of national income will be spent on overseas aid in 2021 – the equivalent of £10 billion in the Spending Review – before noting: “Our intention is to return to 0.7 per cent when the fiscal situation allows.”

Bringing his speech to an end, Mr Sunak said the spending that had been announced came secondary to “the courage, wisdom, kindness and creativity it unleashes”.

“These things must come from each of us, and be shared freely, because the future, this better country, is a common endeavour,” he said.

“Today Government has funded the priorities of the British people, now the job of delivering them begins.”

Additional reporting by PA Media.

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Rishi Sunak unveils government’s spending plans for the next year in statement to the Commons

https://www.standard.co.uk/news/politics/rishi-sunak-spending-review-plans-b79147.html

Rishi Sunak unveils government’s spending plans for the next year in statement to the Commons
R

ishi Sunak today unveiled his vision for post-Covid Britain with a £4 billion “levelling-up” fund — but warned unemployment could first hit 2.6 million and borrowing more than £760 billion over four years.

The Chancellor announced the extra billions for better high streets and town centres, new bypasses, upgraded railway stations, traffic-cutting measures, and more libraries, museums, and galleries to seek to ensure all areas of the UK benefits from the nation’s wealth.

In a confident performance that will fuel talk of Mr Sunak’s potential as Boris Johnson’s successor, he unleashed a whole series of spending commitments on three priorities; to deal with the Covid crisis, meeting public services pledges and investing in infrastructure.

However, future generations will almost certainly be left picking up the bill for some of the expenditure given the huge borrowing being built up.

* The independent Office for Budget Responsibility is forecasting that the economy will shrink this year by 11.3 per cent, “the largest fall in output for more than 300 years”. As the restrictions are eased, it is then expected to grow by 5.5 per cent next year, 6.6 per cent in 2022, then 2.3 per cent, 1.7 per cent and 1.8 per cent in the following years

* Britain’s economic output is not expected to return to pre-crisis levels until the fourth quarter of 2022 and “long-term scarring” means that in 2025,the economy will be around three per cent smaller than expected in the March Budget  

* Nearly £3 billion will be spent on a new, three-year Restart Programme  to help over one million people who have been out of work for over a year to find new work, with unemployment forecast to rise to a peak in the second quarter of next year, of 7.5 per cent,  2.6 million people.

* The Government was providing £280 billion this year to get the country through the coronavirus crisis.

* The overseas aid budget will be cut from 0.7 per cent of national income to 0.5 per cent, risking a furious clash with MPs, five former Prime Ministers, and campaigners. Mr Sunak said: “Our intention is to return to 0.7 per cent when the fiscal situation allows.”

* Now was not the time for tax rises, but the OBR is warning that tens of billions of hikes or cuts in public spending may be needed in coming years. The Chancellor said: “We have a responsibility, once the economy recovers, to return to a sustainable fiscal position.”

* The National Living Wage will increase by 2.2 per cent to £8.91 an hour.

* The NHS will get an extra £3 billion, including £1 billion to address the treatment backlogs built up during the epidemic.

* The Ministry of Defence is getting a boost of more than £16 billion over four years.

* Total Government department spending next year will be £540 billion, with day-to-day departmental spending rising, in real terms, by 3.8 per cent.

Mr Sunak also outlined his hopes for the country and society in future years, which is likely to increase speculation over whether he could one day be heading for No10.

He said: “We in Government can set the direction, better schools, more homes, stronger defence, safer streets. .green energy, technological development, improved roads, enhanced rail. .all investments that will create jobs and give every person in this country the chance to meet their potential.

Rishi Sunak unveils government’s spending plans for the next year in statement to the Commons
( PA )

“But it is the individual, the family, and the community that must become stronger, healthier and happier as a result. This is the true measure of our success.”

He added: “The spending announced today is secondary to the courage, wisdom, kindness and creativity it unleashes. These are the incalculable but essential parts of our future, and they cannot be mandated or distributed by government. These things must come from each of us, and be shared freely, because the future, this better country, is a common endeavour. Today Government has funded the priorities of the British people, now the job of delivering them, begins.”

Mr Sunak also announced £600 million for roads, rail and other housing infrastructure aimed at tackling London’s homes crisis.

The Chancellor unveiled the investment as part of a four-year £7.1 billion National Home Building Fund as he sought to inject hope into a dire set of economic figures on the debt and jobs crisis facing Britain.

The East London Line will get an £80 million boost to “unlock” over 14,000 homes in Southwark and Lewisham.

Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds accused the Government of being too slow in responding to rising unemployment, stressing: “With Britain in the grip of a jobs crisis, there’s no time for delay and no margin for error.”

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