On Wednesday, the Chancellor announced the results of the latest spending review and set out the Government’s budget for the next financial year.

Following the challenges of Covid-19, this year’s spending review has been set during incredibly difficult economic circumstances. This, of course, has necessitated a significant increase in borrowing.

By the end of the year, the government will have spent over £280 billion on its response to the pandemic. This has been vital funding to protect jobs, as well as providing extra funding for schools, local authorities, the NHS, charities, culture and sport. This significant financial response was only possible because we came into this pandemic with strong public finances. We now have a responsibility, once the economy recovers, to return to a sustainable fiscal position.

As we continue to respond to the pandemic, our priorities remain the same: protecting people’s lives and livelihoods.

The Spending Review confirmed an additional £55 billion of spending next year to help government departments respond to Covid-19.

This includes funding for testing, PPE and vaccines; money to support NHS recovery and ease the backlog; funding to help local authorities support vulnerable people, which includes additional funding to help end rough sleeping.

On the issue of livelihoods, the latest data shows that the UK’s unemployment is lower than Italy, France, Spain, Canada and the United States.

However, there is always more we can do, which is why the Government announced nearly £3 billion for a new, three-year programme to help nearly 1 million people, who have been unemployed for over a year, find work – something I will be very involved developing in Parliament.

The government is also committed to strengthening public services: more hospitals, better schools, and safer streets. We are boosting funding for the NHS and the health budget will grow by £6.6 billion, allowing us to deliver 50,000 more nurses and 50 million more GP appointments. This comes along with an extra £1 billion to fund social care, on top of the extra £1 billion social care grant provided this year, which will be maintained into 2021-22. We are reaffirming our commitment to increase the schools’ budget by £7.1 billion by 2022-23, compared to 2019-20 - the biggest school funding boost in a decade. To crack down on crime, we are providing more than £400 million to recruit 6,000 new police officers, and we are on track to meet our manifesto pledge to recruit 20,000 more police officers by 2023.

Other announcements include the biggest investment in British defence since the cold war, with £24bn pledged over the next four years. Along with this, we will introduce ambitious rail, road, housing and green energy programmes which will create jobs and deliver on the Government’s promise to level up across the country.

I am very pleased that, despite the challenges, the Government is continuing to support NHS workers, provide help for those who need to find work, as well as delivering on its commitments to invest in public services and its levelling up agenda.

On a final note, it was announced yesterday that Swindon would enter Tier-2 restrictions once the national lockdown ends on December 2.

The quickest way to ease these restrictions is to follow the rules and continue to build on our progress over the past few weeks and keep the virus under control.

I know this is tough, but reviews will come quickly and I suspect we are very close.