Autumn Budget 2018: Is austerity over?

Jo Thornhill
30 October 2018

Chancellor announces £100billion of spending for the NHS, social care, schools and high streets

The Chancellor has confidently announced that ‘austerity is over’ and that this Budget is aimed at rewarding hard-working families. As well as cuts to income tax, that ‘reward’ came in the form of a range of ‘giveaways’ to public services, including the NHS – and in particular mental health services, social care, schools, air ambulance – and even some cash to mend the roads. Here’s our roundup of where the spending will be targeted:


The government had already announced its funding plan for the health service in June and the Chancellor confirmed the budget would rise by an average 3.4 per cent a year taking it from £114.6 billion in total in 2018-2019 to £147.8 billion by 2023-2024. But in addition, it was announced that funding for mental health services will grow as a share of the overall budget over the next five years. The NHS will invest up to £250 million a year by 2024 into new crisis services for mental health, including a 24-hour helpline, specialist ambulances and teams aimed at helping children and young people. It will also expand the Individual Placement Support programme – helping 55,000 with severe mental health illness find and retain employment.

Air ambulance trusts

The Chancellor announced a £10 million fund to support the work of air ambulances across the country, which are charities.

Social care

The Budget provided an extra £240 million per year for two years for adult social care, plus £410 million in 2019-20 for adults and children’s social care. Councils will also be given £55 million this year for the Disabled Facilities Grant to provide home aids and adaptations for disabled children and adults on low incomes, plus £84 million over five years for children’s services.


All State schools in England will receive a cash boost to spend on equipment or extra facilities for students. The £400 million handout equates to £10,000 per primary school and £50,000 per secondary school. The cash will be paid directly to schools.

Local roads

A £420 million pot of cash was given to local authorities to tackle potholes and repair damaged roads and bridges. The Chancellor also announced £150 million would be made available for small improvement projects such as roundabouts, with the aim of easing congestion.

High streets

The Budget acknowledged the huge pressures on high street retailers and announced a Future High Streets Fund that will invest £675 million to support local areas improve access to town centres and high street shopping areas.


£8 million was given to help with repairs and alterations to village halls and miners’ welfare and armed forces organisations’ facilities. To mark the centenary of the First World War £10 million will be given to support veterans with mental health needs. A further £1 million will be made available for school trips to WW1 battlefield sites. Plus the government will also provide £1.7 million for educational projects in schools to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp at the end of the Second World War.

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