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Rishi Sunak has said people “will not see austerity” when he makes spending announcements for public services this week, despite the billions spent on the pandemic response. The government has indicated it will keep to past promises when allocating funds for policing, nurses and schools.

 

On Wednesday the chancellor will detail the Spending Review. It will outline how taxpayers’ money will be spent on departments such as health and education. But while ruling out a return to austerity, Mr Sunak has also warned people will soon see an “economic shock laid bare”.

 

He told the Andrew Marr show that record government borrowing to deal with the coronavirus must be “grappled with”. That suggests tax rises or spending cuts could be further down the road. The Spending Review will give a clearer picture of the economic damage wrought by the pandemic so far.

 

Last week, reports that Mr Sunak would freeze wages for public sector staff were met with fierce criticism from unions and workers, though NHS frontline staff are likely to be excluded from such a move.Speaking on Sky’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday, the chancellor said: “You will not see austerity next week, what you will see is an increase in government spending, on day-to-day public services, quite a significant one coming on the increase we had last year.”But, while he said that he “cannot comment on future pay policy”, Mr Sunak added: “When we think about public pay settlements, I think it would be entirely reasonable to think of those in the context of the wider economic climate.”

But, while he said that he “cannot comment on future pay policy”, Mr Sunak added: “When we think about public pay settlements, I think it would be entirely reasonable to think of those in the context of the wider economic climate.”