Prime Minister Boris Johnson has this week announced an extra £16.5 billion for Britain’s armed forces over four years, saying he was determined to “end the retreat” in military spending, but Oldham Liberal Democrat Leader Councillor Howard Sykes MBE is disappointed that he has made no similar commitment on long-term funding for other public services.
Commenting, Councillor Sykes said: “Whilst this is undoubtedly welcome news for our armed forces, public services such as local Councils, Police, Fire and Health struggle along with year-by-year announcements on funding by central government. We need a similar four-year plan. It would enable us to plan services more effectively and to make better use of the money that is allocated to us.
“No one doubts the courage of our armed forces which has been tested in the field on numerous occasions and has never been found to be lacking, but in recent months, the fight has been largely at home and against COVID-19 and in this battle it is our public sector staff like health colleagues, emergency services and councils who are committed to the fight in the frontlines against this terrible disease and it would be good if the government could give them some financial certainty too.”
Chancellor Rishi Sunak MP is expected to announce his autumn Spending Review next week, and Councillor Sykes believes this would present an opportunity to make such a commitment.
Councillor Sykes added: “After years of enforced austerity, as with our armed forces, it is now time for this Government to announce an end to the retreat in funding for the public sector and give them all some stability.”