Government Failing Due to Brexit
- Chancellor admits no-deal Brexit would lead to a smaller economy and higher prices as growth forecast is downgraded for 2019
- No clarity on additional funding for Met which in any case is ‘a drop in the ocean’ compared to cuts since 2010
- Mayor calls for London to get proportionate share of new policing money
- Sadiq welcomes new investment for Old Oak Common, but affordable housing funding for London still less than half 2010 amount
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said on March 13, that the Spring Statement shows that the Government is failing to address the biggest challenges facing London and the country as a result of its chaotic handling of Brexit.
The Chancellor, Philip Hammond, today admitted that a no-deal Brexit would lead to lower economic growth and higher prices in the shops, as growth forecasts for this year were downgraded from 1.6 per cent to 1.2 per cent.
Ahead of the Spring Statement, Sadiq called on Philip Hammond to reverse the cuts of the last decade and take bold action to address the biggest challenges facing London such as crime, air pollution and the housing crisis. However, the Chancellor today pushed back any meaningful action on these issues until the spending review later this year.
The Chancellor confirmed that the Met Police will receive a share of £100 million to be invested in policing nationally this year to help tackle knife crime. The Met will be able to use this funding to pay for overtime for existing officers. But because this is not recurring funding, the Met will not be able to use it to recruit the new officers that are desperately needed in London. It is also unclear just how much of the £100 million will come to London.
The Mayor welcomed this limited Government action, but warned it was ‘a drop in the ocean’ compared to Government cuts to the police and preventative services since 2010. He has also called on the Government to confirm that London will get a proportionate share of this new money. Government cuts have forced the Met to make £850 million of savings to date, with another £263 million still to be found by 2022/23.
The Chancellor also announced £250 million of funding from the Government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund to kick-start development at Old Oak Common in West London. However, Government funding for affordable housebuilding in London is still less than half the amount it was when it came to power in 2010.
The Mayor welcomed the Chancellor’s announcement of new funding for free sanitary products in secondary schools and colleges, but there was no positive news on improving air quality in London, with the Government still refusing to follow the Mayor’s lead and funding a national diesel scrappage scheme.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “Today’s Spring Statement shows the Government is failing to tackle the major challenges facing London and the country because of its chaotic handling of Brexit.
“The Chancellor admitted that a no-deal Brexit would lead to a smaller economy and growth forecasts for this year were downgraded.
“The Government has kicked the can down the road on any meaningful action on policing, housing and air quality until the spending review later this year.
“I welcome the limited action on tackling knife crime today – extra funding is something I and others have been urgently demanding – but this is a drop in the ocean compared to the huge cuts to the police and preventative services this Government has made since 2010. This won’t allow the Met to recruit the new police officers they need – and we must see these cuts reversed at the spending review later this year.
“The new funding for Old Oak Common is good news, but it comes against the backdrop of funding for affordable housing in London still being less than half the amount it was in 2010.
“I am delighted that the Chancellor has decided to fund the provision of sanitary products in schools and colleges.”
The investment in Old Oak Common, from the Government’s Housing Infrastructure Fund, will be used to assemble land, design and build vital infrastructure and new link roads, and to and install utilities, allowing development of homes and businesses to begin at Old Oak North, close to the new transport ‘Superhub’ where the HS2 and the Elizabeth Line will meet.