George Osborne takes to the dispatch box this afternoon (25 November) to make the first Autumn Statement since the Conservatives won an overall majority at the general election in May.
The chancellor met doctors and nurses at the Streatham High Practice in south London on 24 November as he pledged to increase spending by £3.8bn ($5.4bn) to protect the NHS and stave off a potential winter crisis.
Osborne was forced into a humiliating re-think over tax credits when peers in the House of Lords shot down Treasury plans to reform the benefit. But the Tory leadership front-runner vowed to return to the House of Commons with a plan to build "the low tax, low welfare, high wage economy" Britain needs.
Elsewhere, Osborne will confirm defence spending will remain at 2% of GDP, house building measures are expected to be unveiled, and we'll hear more on plans to create a surplus of £10bn by 2020.
Then there is policing, which MPs have warned must not bear the brunt of cuts in the wake of the Paris terrorist attacks. Osborne, however, is determined to stay the course on Home Office budget cuts and will announce an increase in counter-terrorism funding of 30% to offset savings.
What you need to read
- Where to watch PMQs
- The Autumn Statement preview
- What small businesses want from Osborne
- Chancellor will condemn women to violence on White Ribbon Day
- Housebuilders rally as George Osborne is set to boost private developers
- John McDonnell faces first big test as Labour shadow chancellor
- George Osborne drops tax credit cuts after House of Lords defeat
- Tampon Tax money to be donated to women's charities
That concludes our live blog of today's Autumn Review and Spending Review. Continue to follow IBTimes UK's coverage for all the reaction on the day George Osborne made a U-turn over tax credits, spared the Home Office of cuts to policing and guaranteed a half trillion pound investment in the NHS by 2020.
Karim Palant has his say on the new apprenticeship levy:
McDonnell finishes his attack on Osborne after calling his stance on tax credits a "fiasco" and demanding to know the full details on the U-turn.
Geraint Johnes, professor of economics at Lancaster university, gives his take on Osborne's police funding announcement.
"George Osborne is adept at pulling a rabbit out of a hat as a grand finale, and he did not disappoint this year, with the announcement that real terms funding for the police would be protected," the academic said.
"That will doubtless take some of the wind out of the sails of the opposition. They might, instead, wish to focus on elements of the much weaker 'social failures' chunk of the statement."
It's arrived. Read the Autumn Statement and Spending Review:
And now it's over the shadow chancellor John McDonnell. He says the chancellor has "some front" talking about deficit reduction and accuses him of "sheer economic illiteracy".
Osborne closes with: "We were elected as a one nation government and today we deliver the spending review of a one nation government
!The guardians of economic security the protectors of national security, the builders of our better future, this government the mainstream representatives of the people of Britain.!
Osborne says now is "not the time for further police cuts" and announces there will be cuts to budget. "The police protect us and we are going to protect the police," Osborne shouts.
Simon Colvin, Partner at Pinsent Masons law firm, believes cuts to government departments could be achieved by sharing services.
"Increased outsourcing and offshoring, greater use of shared services, and alternative commercial and contract models are likely to be means by which spending can be streamlined, but it's going to require flexibility and willingness to adapt by both government and its suppliers."
Number claiming out-of-work benefits has fallen to just 2.3% - lowest rate since 1975 - and £700m saved from closing prisons will be reinvested in modernising judicial system.
"We're going to open 500 new Free Schools and University Technical Colleges," Osborne announces, before pledging to invest £23bn in school buildings.
The £15m raised from the tampon tax (5%) will be diverted to women's charities that help vulnerable women.
Chancellor increases UK Sport budget by 29% "so we can go for gold in Rio and Tokyo". And:
Karim Palant has his say on the Chancellor's transferring of power to local councils to set business rates:
Britain has a permanent pothole fund! And it's all thanks to the "incessant" lobbying of Northampton North MP Michael Ellis.
The chancellor confirms he will transfer new tax raising powers to local councils to cut rates and make their area "more attractive to business".
Next year the basic state pension will rise by £3.35 to £119.30 a week - the biggest real terms increase in 15 years. It means, Osborne harps, pensioners will be £1,125 better off than they were in 2010.
Osborne commits £101bn to the NHS this year, rising to £120bn in 2020/2021. He says the half trillion pound commitment this parliament is "the largest investment since its creation". There will also be £600m allocated to tackling mental health:
However, there is a sting in the tail as Osborne says the NHS must find £22bn in efficiency saving.
Public spending OBR predictions:
Karim Palant, Ed Balls' former head of policy, reacts to Osborne's U-turn on tax credits: