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Budget reaction: sticking-plaster funding ignores deep-rooted challenges

30 October 2018

Chair's Comment on Treasury Budget

Comment from Public Accounts Committee Chair Meg Hillier MP:

"This was a smoke-and-mirrors Budget, offering sticking-plaster funding but paying scant regard to deep-rooted challenges facing the UK.

The Public Accounts Committee has extensively documented the financial challenges facing critical public services such as schools, the NHS and social care.

In this context the announcement of funding for ‘little extras' for schools was an insult to pupils and parents. With schools living through a £3 billion reduction in funding in England – unable to afford to pay for staff, and considering short weeks and a reduced curriculum to balance the books – this is simply a kick in the teeth.

Similarly, as the Public Accounts Committee has made clear, the crisis in social care and local government funding requires more than a one-off grant. Councils and care providers need to plan and deliver a sustainable care system – yet there is still no detail on future funding.

We are already seeing the £20.5 billion promised for the NHS being committed but it will take a lot more than the measures announced today to solve the mental health crisis in the UK and deliver true parity of esteem between mental and physical health.”

She added:

"Brexit is the elephant in the room. The Chancellor announced money to implement it up to March, but gave no acknowledgement of the ongoing costs of changing systems, rules and institutions beyond that point.

The Public Accounts Committee has called for clarity on the true costs of Brexit. We are still waiting."

Further information

Image: House of Lords/ Roger Harris