UK plans £ 8bn more spending on health and education

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British Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak meets with US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen (not pictured), in London, Britain June 3, 2021. REUTERS / Hannah McKay / File Photo

  • The Ministry of Health will receive 5 billion stg over 3 years for R&D
  • Pursue education to get a £ 3 billion boost
  • Billions more for foreign investors, regional transport
  • Plans precede October 27 budget and spending review
  • Other sectors likely to experience day-to-day cost reduction

LONDON, October 23 (Reuters) – UK Finance Minister Rishi Sunak is planning a £ 5bn ($ 6.9bn) program to fund health research and £ 3bn in additional funds for continuing education in next week’s budget, finance ministry officials said on Saturday.

The announcements, which include a series of more modest spending decisions, follow the announcement earlier today of £ 6.9 billion for regional transport projects ahead of a major review of government spending during the next three years. Read more

Investment in transport is £ 1.5bn more than expected as the government seeks to improve living standards outside London through its ‘leveling up’ program.

“We want to make the UK the best place in the world to start, grow and invest in a business, as we continue to support businesses, create jobs and move forward as we recover from the pandemic,” Sunak said in a statement.

Sunak is expected to set fairly strict limits for most areas of daily government spending in its budget on Wednesday, which will seek to reduce public debt after a record increase in borrowing during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read more

But unlike the policies of his predecessors after the 2008-09 financial crisis, he will give more leeway to long-term public investments aimed at rewarding voters who backed Prime Minister Boris Johnson in the December 2019 election.

The bulk of the money spent on education will support English students aged 16 to 19 studying a new qualification as an alternative to the traditional graduation exams which are the normal route to university, the ministry said. Finances.

Some £ 550million will fund education and training for older people, including numeracy skills and three- to four-month courses in areas such as digital skills, construction and roles in the rail industries and nuclear.

The Johnson government is keen to promote apprenticeship and other alternatives to standard university degrees, which it says offer poor job prospects for many students and do too little to tackle skills shortages in the industry.

The UK Department of Health will receive £ 5 billion over the next three years to fund research and development, including £ 2 billion in 2024, which the Department of Finance said was 57% more in terms of cash flow than before the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sunak also plans to increase investment incentives by nearly £ 1 billion to create a £ 1.4 billion fund.

More than 800 million pounds will be set aside for the electric car industry, while 350 million pounds will be used to attract life science manufacturing, the finance ministry said.

An additional £ 700 million would be spent to modernize electronic border systems and replace patrol boats used to tackle smuggling and illegal migration, he added.

In addition, business groups have cautiously welcomed the six-month extension of a loan program for businesses still struggling with the pandemic.

“The litmus test for the program will be whether it is able to support the recovery by providing credit to businesses that need it most,” said Suren Thiru, head of economics at the British Chamber of Commerce.

($ 1 = 0.7272 pounds)

Reporting by David Milliken; Editing by Timothy Heritage and Daniel Wallis

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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