The Chancellor’s Spring Statement was upbeat, with increased growth forecasts. In fact the economy has now grown for eight consecutive years, and is nearly 17 per cent bigger than it was in 2010.
We’re at a turning point: debt is beginning to fall – the first sustained fall in 17 years. The deficit has been reduced by £108billion over the last seven years.
By contrast, since Labour’s manifesto was published last year they’ve committed to spending £106billion, blowing away eight years of hard work in just nine months.
Manufacturing has grown for the longest consecutive period in 50 years, with high-tech manufacturing sectors growing strongly since 2010. There are 1.2 million more businesses across the UK than there were in 2010.
Disposable income per person is now 4.4 per cent higher in real terms than it was in 2010, while income inequality is lower than in 2010 and is close to its lowest level since the mid-1980s.
We’re told that more should be spent more on public services and investment.
In fact, since the Autumn Statement in 2016, the Chancellor has committed to £60billion of new spending, shared between long-term investment in Britain’s future and support for our public services.
There’s been almost £9billion extra for the NHS and social care, £2.2billion more for education and skills, and £31billion to fund infrastructure, research and development and housing. That takes public investment in our schools, hospitals and infrastructure to its highest sustained level in 40 years.
At the same time, raising the personal allowance has cut taxes for 31 million working people, while more than four million have been taken out of tax altogether since 2010.
Fuel duty has been frozen for an eighth successive year, taking the saving for a typical car driver to £850, compared with Labour’s plans, while raising the national living wage to £7.83 from next month gives the lowest paid a rise of more than £2,000 for a full-time worker since 2015.
The Chancellor said that he would continue to take this balanced approach between getting debt down, supporting public services, investing in our nation’s future and keeping taxes low.
As he said: “That is how responsible people budget: first, they work out what they can afford; then they decide what their priorities are; and then they allocate between them.”
You can find further information, including the highlights of my diary each week, on my website: www.nickherbert.com
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