‘Economic emergency has only just begun’: spending review reaction in quotes


“Our health emergency is not yet over and our economic emergency has only just begun.” Rishi Sunak, chancellor of the exchequer

“This will hit household and public finances hard. The British state has never seen anything like this outside of world war two.” Torsten Bell, chief executive of the Resolution Foundation

“Stark forecasts point to tough times ahead. The chancellor has made some bold autumn decisions to power a spring recovery. But ambition must be matched by action on the ground. The government’s commitment to build, build, build must be delivered now.” Rain Newton-Smith, chief economist of the CBI

“The chancellor appears not to have pledged a single extra penny towards a green economic recovery today, while wasting tens of billions on polluting new roads. This would be a failure for jobs, the economy and the future of our planet.” Rebecca Newsom, head of politics at Greenpeace UK

“It seems more likely than not that spending will end up significantly higher than set out today, and so borrowing in 2024-25 will be considerably more than the £100bn forecast by the OBR. Either that or we are in for a pretty austere few years once again, or for some significant tax rises.” Paul Johnson, director of the Institute of Fiscal Studies

“Business leaders will be relieved that the Treasury is resisting the temptation to hike taxes on enterprise for now, but will be concerned that Brexit didn’t merit a mention.” Jonathan Geldart, director general of the Institute of Directors

“By freezing the pay of many thousands of public servants [Sunak] is undermining the very people who are the foundation of our public sector. The comparison of public and private sector wage growth was insulting.” Mike Clancy, Prospect union general secretary

“Our estimates this week showed a fiscal stimulus of £164bn was needed to support the economy and prevent needless, permanent damage to businesses and incomes. The chancellor has acted too timidly, and in doing so has failed to live up to the scale of the challenge.” Carys Roberts, IPPR executive director

“This was a realistic statement which lays bare the immense challenges the chancellor and the economy faces in the near term. In the face of these it is absolutely right that the priority must be to protect jobs. Industry will commend the chancellor for addressing this difficult balancing act with a package of measures designed to get boots and shovels on the ground.” Stephen Phipson, chief executive of Make UK