Since Boris’ appointment as Prime Minister last week. He has made it clear what his plan was; to take the UK out of the EU, come Halloween. In fact, since the selection of his pro-Brexit cabinet, the Prime Minister has demanded preparations to deal with the possible blowbacks of a no-deal Brexit. Because of this, the new Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid has made an available £1.1bn immediate cash boost; alongside a further £1bn if necessary.
In short, an emergency budget set aside of £2.1bn to turbocharge the economy after we leave the EU. If we take into consideration the total allocation of spending this year alone, that would be up to £6.3bn, quite surreal for a conservative government who have always kept a tight purse on public expenditure. The areas of the money set aside in this emergency funding ranges from border operations, extra officers, continuity of medicines and much more.
This approach from the conservative government is to ensure that the country is prepared for a no-deal Brexit. It also could be seen as a way of helping the UK negotiate with Brussels to get a deal which benefits both sides. With the situation regarding the Northern Ireland backstop has been a mitigating factor in securing a deal.
Boris’ accelerating preparations for the economy, following effects of a no-deal Brexit, could be a card that plays in the UK’s favour in securing a deal with the EU. Savid Javid, also reaffirms this idea saying the funding is to ‘show Brussels that the UK is ready and willing countenance leaving without a deal in three months’ time’.
This approach, whilst prudent also brings into questions whether the country is being forced into a no-deal situation. Without taking into consideration the wider and unknown implications of no-deal Brexit, which could be detrimental. The shadow chancellor John McDonnell, has made it clear that the money being set aside in this budget, should be used more diligently and responsibly.
“The government could have ruled out no deal, and spent these billions on our schools, hospitals, and people” John McDonnell argued in response the Conservatives preparations. It’s no doubt the UK is facing an existential crisis not just in terms of the condition of Brexit, but with our healthcare, education and welfare state deficits. All in which have disadvantaged the most vulnerable in our society.
With the current state of Brexit Negotiations, having a government prepared for the future is necessary, whatever that future may be. However, it also seems that this is the only card on the table that the Conservatives have for Brexit; ultimately a no-deal one.
What’s also painful to see is that the budget will no doubt be funded by taxpayers or increased borrowing. It could be deemed a waste from a taxpayer’s perspective given it’s not being reinvested currently into the country. The extra funding could be used to curb issues within our education system, the NHS with waiting times and those suffering on universal credit.
With the government seep ramping this emergency budget. It’s evident that this pro-Brexiter cabinet has no hesitation making a no-deal Brexit a reality. This, unfortunately, might be at the expense of millions within society.
Hopefully, Boris’ plans for social policy reform in the UK (increasing police numbers, increasing per-pupil funding, etc) in conjunction with this Brexit budget can be a recipe for success. But only time will tell if this happens.
The question that remains is this emergency budget justifiable given the direction it’s pulling us towards, which is a no-deal outcome.