U.K. Plans ‘People’s Spending Review’ for the Post-Brexit Era

(Bloomberg) -- Access to good public transport and maintaining low taxes will be at the heart of this year’s U.K. spending review, according to the minister responsible.

In a speech that set out her vision for a so-called “people’s spending review,” Chief Secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss on Tuesday rejected calls for a Universal Basic Income and instead said she wanted “Universal Basic Infrastructure.”

The three-year spending review has already been delayed while Treasury officials grapple with their bulging Brexit in-trays and await a decision by Parliament on what kind of divorce deal it will back with the European Union. Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond said in his Spring Statement last week the review will start before the summer recess and that the amount of money on offer will depend on whether a deal is agreed by Parliament.

Truss wants to focus on “unsexy projects,” such as local transport connections, as well as reducing spending on administration. She said the review will shun the “blob” of vested interests from lobby groups and seek to create a free-market economy.

“There are those prophets of doom who say the size of the state must inexorably grow,” she said. “But, as we leave the EU, I’d point to some of those countries we are now competing with. Countries like South Korea and Japan show that it is perfectly possible to fund the services people care about while keeping taxes low.”

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.