Sajid Javid was rebuked several times by Speaker John Bercow, who claimed that his opening remarks were “out of order” because they veered into Brexit territory.
Mr Javid’s core spending proposals for the 2020-21 financial year included:
- A 6.3% real terms increase in Home Office spending – the “biggest increase” in 15 years
- An additional £1.5bn for England’s councils to bolster social care
- A £6.2bn increase in NHS funding
- A 2.6% rise in funding for the Ministry of Defence
- A 13% increase in funding to tackle homelessness, taking spending to £422m
- An extra £1.2bn for Scotland, £600m for Wales and £400m for Northern Ireland.
Ahead of a possible general election – given the parliamentary deadlock on the UK’s departure from the EU – the chancellor said he wanted to focus on the “people’s priorities” thanks to strong public finances.
He said the rises amounted to £13.4bn of extra money – an increase of more than 4% – but shadow chancellor John McDonnell described his plans as “meaningless platitudes” and “grubby electioneering” after 10 years of cuts.
Mr Javid dismissed any suggestion of any pre-election giveaway.
He said: “We won’t be writing blank cheques.
“We won’t be able to afford everything and we’ll need to prioritise investment in policies that deliver real productivity gains and boost economic growth in the long-term.”
But he pledged that no government department would see spending cuts, with budgets rising by at least the rate of inflation.
It currently stands at 2.1%.
Another critic of the government claimed the pledges would be undeliverable if the UK was to leave the EU without a deal.
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “The Chancellor’s promises would be overwhelmed by a no-deal Brexit.
“If we leave the EU without a deal, jobs will be lost, wages will fall, and our public services will suffer.
“After a decade of needless austerity, we need a long-term plan to deliver world-class public services.
“But there’s no chance of that when this prime minister is prioritising a no-deal Brexit and tax cuts for the rich.”
Councillor James Jamieson, chairman of the Local Government Association, said: “We are delighted that today’s spending round has delivered a funding package of more than £3.5bn for our vital local services next year.
“This is the biggest year on year real terms increase in spending power for local government in a decade and will allow councils to meet the rising cost and demand pressures they face in 2020/21.”