Government’s Spending Review 2020: summary

The Chancellor announced additional funding for schools and for sport.

Government announced its 2020 Spending Review this week, confirming departmental budgets for the next financial year (2021/22).

While Physical Education and school sport were not mentioned directly in the Spending Review, our hope is that this announcement will now give government departments the financial certainty they need to progress future investment in this area including the development of the School Sport and Activity Action plan. The Youth Sport Trust’s submission to the Treasury setting out our recommendations ahead of the Comprehensive Spending Review can be found here

Summary of key extracts


  • A £2.2 billion uplift for the core schools’ budget in 2021-22 compared to 2020-21 levels of funding. In addition, the Spending Review will fund investment in Further Education, continue delivering opportunities for lifelong learning, and fund the Holiday Activities and Food programme to provide enriching activities and a healthy meal for disadvantaged children in the Easter, Summer and Christmas holidays in 2021.
  • Reaffirms the government’s commitment to increase the schools budget by £7.1 billion by 2022-23, compared to 2019-20 funding levels.
  • Additional education funding of £1.4 billion this year including funding for schools in England to help children catch up on lost learning and supplementary support for free school meals
  • The government will also provide £220 million for the Holiday Activities and Food programme to provide enriching activities and a healthy meal for disadvantaged children in the Easter, Summer and Christmas holidays in 2021. This provides funding up to the end of 2021-22 and supports the government’s commitment to establish a Flexible Childcare Fund to increase the availability of high quality and affordable flexible childcare.

Digital, Culture, Media and Sport

  • The Department for Digital Culture Media and Sport’s (DCMS) settlement provides a 2.3 per cent average real terms increase per year in core resource funding from 2019-20 to 2021-22. The department’s capital budget increases by £135 million in cash terms next year, taking core total DEL to £764 million. Average real growth in core departmental total DEL is 5.2 per cent per year from 2019-20 to 2021-22.
  • The settlement also provides:
  • over £150 million in 2021-22 for upcoming major events, including the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham, Festival UK and the celebrations for the Queen’s Jubilee
  • over £60 million for Sport England to increase participation in sport and support vital projects in communities across the country
  • almost £100 million to deliver the National Citizen Service (NCS) and invest in youth facilities. The government will review its programmes to support youth services including the NCS in the spring.


As well as supporting the decarbonisation of private vehicles, the government is making major investments in other clean forms of transport. To encourage more active travel, the government has provided £257 million for cycling and walking in 2021-22, part of the Prime Minister’s £2 billion commitment to cycling and walking across the parliament.


As part of the Brexit transition, government will introduce a UK Shared Prosperity Fund. The UKSPF will help to level up and create opportunity across the UK for people and places. It will operate UK-wide, using the new financial assistance powers in the UK Internal Market Bill. Investments and programmes will display common branding. The government will ramp up funding, so that total domestic UK-wide funding will at least match current EU receipts, on average reaching around of £1.5 billion a year.

A portion of the UKSPF will target places most in need across the UK, such as ex-industrial areas, deprived towns and rural and coastal communities. It will support people and communities, opening up new opportunities and spurring regeneration and innovation.

Its funding profile will be set out at the next Spending Review. The government will develop a UK-wide framework for investment in places receiving funding, with priorities including:

  • investment in people and skills tailored to local needs, such as work-based training, supplementing and tailoring national programmes (e.g. the Adult Education Budget); and other local support (e.g. for early years)
  • investment in communities and place including cultural and sporting facilities, civic, green and rural infrastructure, community-owned assets, neighbourhood and housing improvements, town centre and transport improvements and digital connectivity

You can read the government summary of the Spending Review here and the full document here.

Published on 26 November 2020