London at risk of losing out due to Spending Review

 The Chancellor’s Spending Review has placed London’s economic recovery at further risk, Londonwide Assembly Member, Murad Qureshi AM, has warned. He has also accused the Government of failing to be upfront about the impact of an impending no-deal or bad Brexit, after the Chancellor failed to mention it in his speech on Wednesday afternoon. 

Murad Qureshi AM has cast his doubt upon whether the funding packages announced by the Chancellor will come close to compensating the capital’s already cash-strapped local authorities for the significant costs they have incurred during the pandemic.

He is also raising concerns about the lack of action amongst Ministers to strengthen the welfare system, as recent Trussell Trust figures reveal that between April and September, the number of emergency food parcels handed out in Westminster increased 122%, more than doubled when compared to the previous summer.

Despite the unemployment rate having surged in the capital due to the pandemic, there was no commitment from the Government to keep the currently temporary uplift in Universal Credit payments beyond April, or raise Local Housing Allowance to cover average rents in a given area.

The Spending Review has also confirmed that the Government will help to fund the completion of Crossrail. However, Transport for London’s Commissioner, Andy Byford, has recently issued a stark warning that the whole project could be imminently “mothballed”, if the Government continues to withhold the necessary funding.

Londonwide Assembly Member, Murad Qureshi AM, said:

“The Government has a well-established trend of underfunding London and this Spending Review is no different. This is hugely irresponsible because any threat to the economic health of London is a threat to the UK economy as a whole.

 “The Chancellor undoubtedly has a very difficult job on his hands at the moment, but the Government’s continued short-changing of local authorities will lead to yet deeper cuts to key public services.

 “The Government must also start being upfront about the potentially catastrophic impact of a no-deal Brexit in the midst of a pandemic.

“I am totally unconvinced that the measures announced in the Spending Review will go anywhere near far enough to adequately brace us for another sharp economic shock in the New Year”.

Notes 

  • The full Spending Review announced by the Chancellor this week can be read here;
  • A borough-by-borough breakdown of the most recent figures published by the Trussell Trust, covering April to September 2020, can be found here
  • The latest Office of National Statistics (ONS) figures showing unemployment rates can be found here;
  • Transport for London’s Commissioner, Andy Byford, has recently issued a stark warning that the whole project could be imminently “mothballed” by the end of this week, if the Government continues to withhold the necessary funding