Hammond hands out billions of pounds to public services

29 Oct 18

The chancellor told the Commons austerity is “coming to an end” today, announcing funding boosts for the Ministry of Defence to the tune of £1bn and adult social care of £650m.

In a surprise move Philip Hammond said the MoD needed a cash boost  because “over the last year, we’ve had stark reminders of the threats we face”.  Spending would go to, for example, Dreadnought submarines and fighting cybercrime. 

“Not only will this funding ensure we continue to have world-leading armed forces but will also allow defence to modernise our critical assets, such as our offensive cyber capabilities, anti-submarine warfare and our nuclear deterrent," he said.

Local authorities will receive a £650m grant funding injection for 2019-20 as Hammond said he recognised “the immediate pressure” facing social care. Health secretary Matt Hancock announced £240m of this at the Conservative conference at the start of this month.

Delivering his last Budget before Brexit, Hammond said the extra funding will allow councils to “improve services for older people, for people with disabilities and for children in care now, while longer term funding decisions will be made at the spending review.”

Children’s services were handed £84m to be given over five years to cope with “high or rising numbers of children in care”, the chancellor said.

“Austerity is coming to an end but discipline will remain .. that is the choice in politics today,” Hammond told MPs at the end of his speech today.

The chancellor also announced £2bn a year until 2023-24 from the extra £20.5bn going to the NHS – announced by Theresa May over the summer – would go towards combating mental health issues.

The money would be used to set up more specific mental health ambulances, a mental health crisis service and more ‘safe havens’ in the community.

Councils will also receive £420m to fund pothole repairs and this money will be “available immediately”, Hammond said. 

He also gave £400m to schools in capital funding, equating to £10,000 per primary school and £50,000 per secondary school.

Counter-terrorism policing will benefit from a £160m boost “to ensure that forces across the country are well equipped to work closely with out communities and keep citizens safe”.

On housing, Hammond confirmed the lifting of the HRA borrowing cap and committed an extra £500m to the Housing Infrastructure Fund, raising the total funding to £5.5bn “unlocking up to 650,000 new homes”.

Commenting on the money for social care, Glen Garrod, president of the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services, said the funding fell “far short of the £2.35bn that ADASS identified” that would be needed for 2019-20.

Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, said that social care remains the “Achilles heel” for the health service and added that the extra £650m is “clearly inadequate”.

The chancellor said that the delayed social care green paper would be published “shortly”.

Last week, the IPPR think-tank suggested the government must provide £24bn in mental health funding by 2030.

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