House of Parliament Westminster on cloudy day
Politics

Government Considering Integrated Review's Future

It follows a decision for a separate spending review by the Treasury to now cover only one year, instead of three.

House of Parliament Westminster on cloudy day

The Government has said it is considering the future of the Integrated Review, following a decision that a separate spending review will cover only one year.

The Treasury says its spending review will now be a one-year assessment held next month, rather than a three-year review, due to the uncertainty created by coronavirus.

The Government says it is "considering the implications for the completion of the Integrated Review" as a result.

Defence Select Committee chair, Tobias Ellwood, has since claimed the Prime Minister has confirmed to him "there will be no delay" in the Integrated Review's publication.

The Integrated Review was first announced by Boris Johnson in December 2019.

Its aim has been to cover "all aspects of international policy from defence to diplomacy and development", with the Prime Minister describing it as the "biggest review of our foreign, defence, security and development policy since the end of the Cold War".

Watch: The Defence Secretary and the Chief of the Defence staff both spoke about the Integrated Review during a briefing in September.

The Government had kept an open mind on scrapping the multi-year spending review but has come under pressure from economists in recent months, who pointed out that the uncertainty of the pandemic meant setting longer-term spending targets would prove difficult.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the decision for the spending review to be a one-year assessment was taken to prioritise the response to COVID-19 and focus on supporting jobs, setting departmental resources, and capital budgets for 2021-22, and the devolved administrations' block grants for the same period.

Funding for the NHS and schools will remain multi-year, along with priority infrastructure projects.

In a statement, the Treasury said: "While the Government would have liked to outline plans for the rest of this Parliament, the right thing today is to focus entirely on the response to COVID-19 and supporting jobs – that’s what the public would expect.”

It outlined three areas of support including employment, funding public services in the fight against the virus, and investment to unite and level up the country.

Mr Sunak added: "In the current environment it’s essential that we provide certainty.

"So we’ll be doing that for departments and all of the nations of the United Kingdom by setting budgets for next year, with a total focus on tackling COVID and delivering our Plan for Jobs."

Cover image: NurPhoto/PA.