Spending round is a “pre-election, panic-driven Tory stunt”, says McDonnell

The government’s spending round being presented by Sajid Javid today is a “pre-election, panic-driven Tory stunt”, John McDonnell has said.

The Chancellor will reveal his first spending review in the Commons after PMQs this afternoon, presenting a one-year budget for Whitehall departments. It will include an extra £2bn for Brexit preparations.

Commenting on the further Brexit funding, the Shadow Chancellor said: “Nobody is fooled by this government’s claims about spending any more.

“Rushing out a one-year spending round before the OBR issues new forecasts tells you all you need to know about their approach to Brexit and managing the public finances.”

Unusually, the review will not be based on up-to-date forecasts from the Office for Budget Responsibility and the watchdog will not be able to offer its independent analysis of the spending commitments.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies has said this could represent “a return to the bad old days when chancellors could make fiscal claims not based on the best available independent forecasts”.

Referring to the spending round in a speech on Monday, Jeremy Corbyn said: “Every recycled, hopelessly inadequate spending pledge put out by Javid, or rather by his political bosses in Number 10, only proves Labour’s point that austerity is a political choice that has caused huge suffering and damaged our economy in the process.”

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