Spring Budget: Public sector matters transcript - Nick Jones

It was vital that the Budget laid the foundations for a much needed boost to the UK's productivity by investing in the pillars of good growth such as skills and infrastructure. 

Clearly, any Budget must also balance between short term need and longer term requirement. Targeted interventions were needed where the system is creaking most, such as in social care with an additional £2bn in funding over the next three years.

Longer term, it was welcome to see proposed investments to develop artificial intelligence and robotics as areas of opportunity for productivity improvement as much in the public, as well as the private sector.

Indeed, technical education was given a huge boost with the proposals to launch T-levels, alongside £500m worth of additional funding. This is a welcome shift in emphasis, starting to put vocational and academic pathways on more equal terms.

However, an elephant in the public spending war room was what to do about the biggest single area of spending – welfare and in particular pensions. How long will it be before the triple lock becomes unsustainable?

Resilience was the watchword for this Budget and there is no doubt that the public sector will need agility to cope with future changes alongside a laser focus on doing better for less.

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