THE UK Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review is to be delayed from the summer while ministers tackle the coronavirus emergency, Rishi Sunak, the Chancellor, told the Cabinet this morning.

The CSR, which sets departmental spending limits for the next three years, was set to conclude in July but could now be postponed until the autumn or possibly even longer. Downing St gave no sense of how long the delay would be.

It said Mr Sunak made the announcement, explaining the delay would enable the Government to remain “focused on responding to the public health and economic emergency”.

It added: “Further details of when the Comprehensive Spending Review will be held will be set out in due course.”

For the first time, Cabinet met using secure video-conferencing. Only Boris Johnson, Matt Hancock, the Health and Social Care Secretary, Sir Mark Sedwill, the Cabinet Secretary, and Professor Chris Whitty, the Chief Medical Officer, attended Cabinet in person.

The CSR will establish the limits of spending by Whitehall departments for public services as well as investments covering resource budgets from 2021 to 2024 and capital budgets up to 2025.

Spending needs to be set before the year’s end to enable councils and other bodies to plan for their 2021/22 budgets.

Cabinet received an update from Prof Whitty on the coronavirus outbreak ahead of another press conference expected this afternoon to be taken by the Prime Minister.

Senior ministers discussed the extensive range of actions which the Government was taking to tackle the spread of the virus.

Mr Johnson said it was vital that the public followed the instructions issued by the Government on the need to stay at home. He made clear again that by staying at home, people would protect the NHS and save lives.