Comprehensive Spending Review 2015: Summary of key announcements

Post date: 
Thursday, 26 November 2015
The Houses of Parliament, Westminster, seen from the south bank of the River Thames

The Spending Review and Autumn Statement has been set out to Parliament – here’s a summary of what was announced.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, set out the Government’s spending plans for the next five years this week, in the 2015 Comprehensive Spending Review.

Key announcements of particular relevance to RNIB included:

Work and welfare

  • The planned £4.4 billion cut to tax credits has been abandoned by the Government; taper and threshold rates for working tax credits, and child tax credits, will remain the same.
  • The Government’s £12 billion target for welfare savings is expected to be delivered in full.
  • The Department for Work and Pensions’ budget is to be cut by 14 per cent.
  • The Chancellor stated that the Government will “extend the same support and conditionality [it] currently expects of those on [Jobseeker’s Allowance] to over one million more benefit claimants”. (It’s not yet clear which group of claimants this will affect)

Health and social care

Mr Osborne told Parliament:  “The first priority of this Government is the first priority of the British people – our National Health Service.”

  • The NHS budget, which is currently £101bn, is to rise to £120bn by 2020-21.
  • The health service is to receive an upfront increase in funding of £6bn next year.
  • NHS in England will be expected to make £22bn in efficiency savings.
  • The Department for Health will have its budget cut by 25 per cent.
  • Local authorities responsible for social care will be able to levy a new social care precept of up to two per cent on council tax. This is to be spent exclusively on adult social care, bringing approximately £2bn more to the care system.

This will benefit more affluent local authorities, but poorer councils will be hit hard. The Care and Support Alliance and Local Government Association have stated this year that due to demographic pressures, councils would need an extra £700m every year until 2019-20 to maintain access to social care services at current levels.

The Government’s commitment will therefore be inadequate in addressing the current crisis in social care.

  • The Government committed to integrating health and social care in England by 2020.
  • Over £500m will be invested in new hospitals, including in Cambridge, Brighton and Sandwell.

Housing

  • The Government will invest £400 million in the building of 8,000 specialist homes for people with disabilities, and older people.

Work and welfare

  • Next year the basic state pension will rise by £3.35, to £119.30 per week.
  • Every individual and small business will have their own digital tax account by the end of the decade.
  • Housing benefit will be capped at local housing allowance rates.
  • Job centres are to be co-located in council buildings.

Health and social care

  • The Government will increase access to GP services in the evenings, and at weekends, and ensure 7-day access to hospital services by 2020.
  • The Government will invest in extra support for mental health services; £600m in additional funding will be spent on talking therapies, perinatal mental health services, and crisis care.
  • Around £5bn will be invested in health research.
  • There will be 800,000 more elective hospital admissions.
  • There will be five million more outpatient appointments.
  • There will be two million more diagnostic tests.

Further information