Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid has announced a special one-year spending review in order to give government departments an opportunity to prepare for Brexit.
Mr Javid, who became Chancellor last month, replacing arch-Remainer Phillip Hammond, said the spending review would offer “financial certainty” ahead of the Brexit deadline of October 31st, the Guardian reports.
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“The prime minister and I have asked for a fast-tracked spending round for September to set departmental budgets for next year. This will clear the ground ahead of Brexit while delivering on people’s priorities,” he said.
“We will get Brexit done by 31 October and put our country on the road to a brighter future,” he added.
The spending review is in addition to the £2.1 billion already put aside by the government for Brexit preparations.
Traditionally, spending reviews take place every two to three years but the new Chancellor looks to be shoring up government departments ahead of a possible no-deal Brexit scenario.
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“This spending round will give financial certainty to departments’ plans for next year,” addded Chief Secretary to the Treasury Rishi Sunak.
“We will invest in the priority areas of schools and policing, while delivering our promises on the NHS, defence and Official Development Assistance [Foreign Aid].”
The government has introduced a raft of new spending pledges including an extra £1.8 billion for the NHS and the recruitment of 20,000 new police officers, among other policies. Plans for these are expected to be outlined in the review.
In addition to the spending review, Prime Minister Johnson has written to civil servants stating that preparations for a no-deal Brexit are the top priority for the government and the civil service. Johnson has stated repeatedly that he intends for Britain to leave “whatever the circumstances” on October 31st, though he has also said that he would prefer a negotiated deal to no deal.
In his letter, Mr Johnson wrote that he would “very much prefer” to leave with an agreement, but added: “I recognise this may not happen.”
“That is why preparing urgently and rapidly for the possibility of an exit without a deal will be my top priority, and it will be the top priority for the civil service too.”
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