Chancellor of the Exchequer
The Rt Hon
This Government is clear that a strong economy is the essential prerequisite to delivering prosperity and improved life chances for all, building a Britain that truly works for everyone, not a few.
Since 2010, we have made significant progress. Britain has been one of the fastest growing advanced economies in the world over the last few years; our employment rate has reached record highs as living standards rose to the highest level ever last year. At the same time, the deficit as a share of GDP has been cut by almost two-thirds from its post-war peak in 2009–10.
While the decision to leave the European Union marks the beginning of a new chapter for our country and our economy, we start from a position of strength and our economy is well-placed to confront the challenges ahead.
Britain will, in due course, begin negotiations to leave the European Union. We recognise there may be some uncertainty as we negotiate and then a period of adjustment as the economy transitions to the post-EU reality. As we go forward, we are determined to build on our strengths as an open, dynamic, trading nation to forge a new global role for Britain.
We are determined to make a success of Brexit and have seen some positive developments with large companies such as Siemens and Lockheed Martin confirming that the UK remains an attractive place for them to invest.
This is all good to see but we cannot be complacent. At the same time as we seek the best possible trade arrangements with our European neighbours, we must also redouble our efforts to promote trade with the rest of the world. Since the referendum we have seen a number of countries indicating their wish to agree trade deals with the UK, and I’m certain the list will continue to grow.
People can be assured that we are prepared to take the necessary steps to safeguard the economy in the short term and to take advantage of the opportunities that arise in the longer term as we forge a new relationship with the European Union.
The message we take to the world is this: we are the same outward-looking, globally-minded, big-thinking country we have always been – and we remain very firmly open for business.