A lack of ambition: our response to the Autumn 2021 Budget and Spending Review

Date Posted: Tuesday 2nd November 2021

Autumn Budget 2021

Our full gendered analysis of the Autumn Budget can be read and downloaded as a PDF here

Read the large print version here

The autumn Budget and Spending Review marked a distinct change in direction away from austerity, and a tacit recognition that the cuts to public spending that characterised the last decade did not work. The new announcements added £70bn in spending over three years and put real term spending per head back up to 2009/10 levels by 2024. While welcome, the increase in spending will not take most departments back to pre-2010 funding levels, since a significant amount goes into health, nor will it repair the damage done to the public sector after a decade of successive cuts.

We needed more ambition in this Budget

The spending set out in the budget is not sufficient to tackle the challenges that the UK faces: the climate emergency, the crisis in public services (particularly care), and growing poverty and inequality.

We needed more ambition in this Budget. We needed to see investment in a green care-led recovery that gives people the care they need at every point of their lives, creates decent jobs, and tackles climate change. We needed real ‘levelling up’ to tackle the poverty and inequality that has been exposed and made worse by Covid.

This spending review was a missed opportunity which shows that the Government is failing to grasp the scale of the challenges facing the UK.

Prior to the Budget, the WBG published a series of briefings to provide background information on a range of topics. Briefings on childcare, employment, housing, parental leave, pensions, social security, health inequalities, social care, tax, economic challenges for young women and violence against women and girls, are available here.