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  1. ITV Report

Fast-track spending review given go-ahead ahead of looming Brexit

Chancellor Sajid Javid leaving Downing Street in London. Credit: PA

Public spending and investment plans will be fast-tracked in the lead up to the looming Brexit deadline of October 31.

Chancellor Sajid Javid said he and the Prime Minister have asked for a 12-month spending round to be completed in September in a bid to free up departments to prepare for the UK's departure from the EU.

This will cover day-to-day department budgets for 2020/21, rather than a three-year period first mooted by the previous government.

Mr Javid said: “This will clear the ground ahead of Brexit while delivering on people’s priorities.”

“We will get Brexit done by October 31 and put our country on the road to a brighter future.

The Treasury added the review will pursue Mr Johnson’s desire to fund 20,000 extra police officers, increase school funding and NHS pledges.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has pledged investment into the NHS and schooling. Credit: Jonathan Brady/PA

It will also meet existing fiscal rules established by former chancellor Philip Hammond, aimed at keeping borrowing under control and debt falling.

Mr Johnson’s administration also intends to maintain spending 0.7% of national income on overseas aid, which amounts to some £14 billion a year. Spending reviews tend to cover periods of three or four years and involve discussions between departments and the Treasury over funding settlements.

A full spending review is scheduled to take place in 2020.

Sajid Javid has sworn to get Brexit delivered by October 31. Credit: PA

The newly installed Chief Secretary to the Treasury Rishi Sunak said of the fast-track review: “We will invest in the priority areas of schools and policing, while delivering our promises on the NHS, defence and Official Development Assistance (ODA).”

Mr Hammond last month sounded a note of caution against turning on the spending taps as he explained how the new government would have to decide the length of the spending review and judge what is right for the circumstances.

Newly installed Chief Secretary to the Treasury Rishi Sunak. Credit: PA

He told MPs: “The purpose of a spending review is these things can be looked at in the round, and the responsible way to do a spending review is to first set the envelope of what is affordable and then to look at the different bids, which will, I can confidently predict, greatly exceed the available envelope of spending power, and prioritise.

“That’s the difficult business of government.”

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell has accused the government of '"pre-election panic", as many speculate whether the prime minister will call a snap election before Brexit.

“Johnson is splashing a little bit of cash as a publicity stunt, but keeping the door open for even more austerity if a no-deal Brexit breaks the economy.”