Chancellor of the Exchequer
The Rt Hon
George Osborne MP
The UK grew faster than any other major advanced economy in the world last year, and is set to do the same again this year. Over the past five years we created two million new jobs. And the deficit – now 3.7% of GDP, is a third of what we inherited in 2010.
But all that progress could be put at risk if we don’t continue with the plan that is delivering for the working people of this country.
Economic security is at the heart of that plan. It’s not enough to simply eradicate the deficit – we have to reduce our unsustainably high level of national debt. At the Budget I published a revised Fiscal Charter that commits us to running a surplus in normal times to bear down on debt. In the autumn the House will vote on that Charter and I hope it will mark the start of a new settlement for Britain’s public finances.
Improving productivity – the amount that British workers produce for every hour they work – is the key route to making the UK stronger and families richer, and it’s the greatest economic challenge of our time. We’ve set out concrete steps that we’re going to take to improve the infrastructure, education and skills of the UK – and to make sure that this time it’s a truly national recovery. Some of the biggest reforms include setting up a new Roads Fund to pay for the sustained investment our roads so badly need and introducing a radical new apprenticeship levy on large firms. We’re also devolving even more powers to local areas over things like planning, skills and Sunday trading rules. And to back British businesses and encourage them to invest we’re setting the Annual Investment Allowance at £200,000 and cutting Corporation Tax to 18% by 2020 – making it the lowest in the G20.
The final part of the plan is to make sure work always pays, so at the Budget I announced a new National Living Wage, reforms to our welfare system and lower taxes for working people so we move Britain to being the higher wage, lower tax, lower welfare economy we want it to be.
By continuing to work through the plan, this Government is committed to securing the future of the UK for everyone in in our country.