Yesterday the Chancellor set out the government’s spending plans for next year, 2021/22. These announcements deliver on the government’s promises to residents in Elmbridge, and include important measures to tackle Coronavirus, but also to deliver on other priorities including policing and schools.
First, Coronavirus. The government is spending £280 billion this year to get the country through the pandemic, including through the furlough scheme, business loans and grants, and tax relief. Next year, public services will receive £55 billion to tackle Coronavirus, including an initial £18 billion to fund programmes on testing, PPE and vaccines. This will support the national fight against the pandemic, and our local effort in Elmbridge.
Beyond Coronavirus, the Spending Review contained good news for some key local priorities. On schools, the Chancellor confirmed that funding will increase by £2.2 billion next year. As a result, our local primary schools will see a 4.2% per pupil funding increase, and local secondary schools will see a 2.7% per pupil increase. You can read more about this here.
On policing, Surrey Police will benefit from a £400 million national funding boost for policing, enabling the recruitment of 6,000 more officers across England and Wales next year. While we don’t yet know what Surrey Police’s share of these officers will be, it’s good news that the force is on track to meet its target of recruiting 78 new officers this year.
The Chancellor also announced significant new funding for the NHS, including a £6.3 billion boost to general spending, £3 billion dedicated to supporting the NHS in recovering from the pandemic, and £325m for new diagnostic equipment. As ever, I’ll be making sure that this translates into better outcomes locally.
Finally, there was an important announcement about social care, which is particularly relevant for us locally. I know that the sector has been under pressure during the pandemic, so it’s good news that the £1 billion social care grant divided between local authorities this year will be provided again next year, and complemented by an extra £300 million grant.
Coronavirus continues to be a challenge. But there is now light at the end of the tunnel, and with more testing and vaccines becoming available, the government will also be focussing on addressing the important, everyday issues that can really make a difference locally.