Ahead of Wednesday’s Autumn Statement the Chancellor wrote the following article in the Sun on Sunday yesterday which I thought would be of interest to you:
‘On Wednesday I will make my Autumn Statement to the House of Commons on the economy. Nobody will be surprised that the economic situation we and the rest of the world face remains very difficult. After the biggest financial crisis in our history it was always going to be a hard road to recovery. But we are making progress. The deficit is down by a quarter. More than one million private sector jobs have been created. And we are equipping Britain to compete in the global race so that our children will have better lives and lower debts.
My approach this Wednesday will be based on three core principles.
First, Britain is on the right track and turning back now would be a disaster. It is only two years since Britain was staring into the economic abyss. Faced with the biggest budget deficit of any major economy and the biggest bank bail out in the world, people questioned whether Britain would go the same way as so many other European countries. But we didn’t. In 2010 the Coalition Government set out a clear plan to deal with our debts and rebalance our economy. Since then we’ve done the hard work of saving money in Whitehall and cutting billions from welfare budgets.
Now the deficit is down by a quarter in just two years and the world has confidence that Britain can pay its way. As a result the interest rates we pay to borrow are low and stable, saving us billions of pounds in interest payments every year. That means low mortgage rates for families and businesses, keeping people in their jobs and in their homes.
Of course the scale of the challenge has been greater than anyone thought. The damage done by the financial crisis went deeper, and the eurozone crisis has dragged on for longer. As a result it is taking longer than we hoped to put things right. But the last thing we should do now is change course. Cutting Government spending is a difficult thing to do after a decade when the spending taps were turned on full blast, but everyone knows that when you are living beyond your means it is the only way out. Deliberately choosing to spend and borrow even more – as the Labour Party want to do all over again – would not only be reckless, it would throw away everything we in Britain have fought for, plunge us ever deeper into debt and put interest rates up.
My second principle is that we are still all in this together. Everyone must make a contribution to dealing with our debts, from the richest in our society to those living a life on benefits. Every one of my Budgets has raised more from the richest. The situation under Labour where top people in the City were paying lower tax rates than their cleaners has been ended. And we are hunting down those who evade tax wherever they try to hide.
But we understand that fairness isn’t just about taxing the rich. It’s also about ending the something for nothing benefits culture. So we have introduced a new cap on benefits and are changing the welfare system with our new Universal Credit so that it always pays to work. Unbelievably, the Labour Party opposes these vital changes.
Even though money is tight, we’ve also found ways to help people who work hard to pay the bills. We’ve frozen council tax for three years now, cut 10p a litre from Labour’s fuel tax plans, cut income tax for 25 million people and now David Cameron has insisted that energy companies must move people onto the lowest tariffs to cut their gas and electricity bills.
Finally, I believe there’s no point solving today’s problems if you don’t also prepare for tomorrow. Britain is in a global race and we need to get ourselves fit if we want to be one of the winners. That means backing people who want to work hard and get on. So we’re making it easier to hire new employees and easier to give them shares in the business they work for, we’re cutting taxes on enterprise, investing in apprenticeships, and building the next generation of roads and power stations. We’ve created a million private sector jobs in just over two years. If we back aspiration and enterprise we can create a million more.
My message to the country next week will be this. There is a lot more to do, but together we’re making progress. The road ahead may be longer than we thought but it leads to a better future. Let’s have the courage to stay the course.’