Javid’s giveaways don’t come close to reversing austerity’s bitter legacy | Polly Toynbee

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After a decade of savage cuts, the chancellor would need to spend £60bn just to restore services to the level of 2010

The end of austerity is here, Sajid Javid tells us. The “page is turned”. If only it really were that easy to erase the damage done during a decade of public services stripped bare. No department will suffer further cuts and all their budgets will keep pace with inflation. It’s good news that “the biggest increase in spending for a decade” means no new punishment will be inflicted on the public realm. An election is on the way and voters won’t take it any more.

They need no focus groups to tell them people put the NHS, schools and police top of their priorities. The deep school cuts led to the firing of teachers and teaching assistants; stopped music, drama, art and school trips; closed breakfast clubs for hungry children; and left headteachers begging parents for pencils and glue. The damage emerged into the light of day to Theresa May’s political discomfort in the 2017 election. Now the annual funding is restored, but 10 years of spending are lost for ever.

The missing police officers, GPs, nurses, firefighters and all the rest can’t be magicked out of the air

Related: Javid fails to disguise cynical electioneering behind spending review

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