Greg Hands, Chief Secretary to the Treasury and Member of Parliament for Chelsea & Fulham, has welcomed the Conservative Government’s Spending Review and Autumn Statement as presented to Parliament by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne.
The Spending Review and Autumn Statement deliver on the Conservative Party’s promise to the British people to put their security first by:
- Protecting Britain’s economic security – taking the difficult decisions to live within our means and to bring our debts down. The public spending plans set out in the Spending Review mean Britain will reach a surplus of £10.1 billion in 2019/20 – that is higher than was forecast at the Budget and means Britain will be out of the red and into the black.
- Protecting Britain’s national security by defending our country’s interests abroad and keeping our citizens safe at home. The Spending Review announced that there will be no cuts in the police budget, with real terms protection for police funding, and it delivers on the Conservative Government’s commitment to spend 2 per cent of our national income on defence.
In total, the Spending Review commits £4 trillion pounds over the next five years. The Government knows that it has an obligation to make sure that this huge commitment from the British taxpayers’ hard-earned pay is well spent. The Conservatives’ approach is not simply retrenchment, but to reform and rebuild, with:
- Full funding of the Five Year Forward View put forward by the NHS itself as the plan for its future, with the first £6 billion delivered up-front next year.
- The biggest real-terms rise in the basic State Pension in 15 years. Thanks to the Conservatives’ commitment to the triple lock, next year the basic state pension will rise by £3.35 to £119.30 a week.
- The biggest house building programme by any government since the 1970s with a doubling of the housing budget to over £2 billion a year. The Conservative Government’s bold plan to back families who aspire to buy their own home will deliver 400,000 affordable new homes by the end of the decade.
- The phasing out entirely of the local government grant. By the end of the parliament, local government will keep all of the revenue from business rates. The uniform business rate will be abolished, so that councils will be able to cut rates to attract new businesses, but because the amount government raises in business rates is much greater than the amount it gives to local councils through the local government grant, that grant will be phased out entirely and additional responsibilities will be devolved.
- New apprenticeship levy to deliver 3 million apprenticeships. This will ensure that large businesses share the cost of training, but businesses with a wage bill below £3 million won’t have to pay. The Government will also increase funding for apprenticeships to make sure that apprenticeships are of a high quality.
- Real terms protection of the schools budget. The Conservatives will maintain funding for free infant school meals, protect rates for the pupil premium, and increase the cash in the dedicated schools grant. The Government is also going to open 500 new free schools and University Technical Colleges, and invest £23 billion in school buildings and 600,000 new school places.
- The largest ever investment in free childcare so that working families get the help they need. From 2017, the Conservatives will fund 30 hours of free childcare for working families with three and four year olds. The Government will support £10,000 of childcare costs tax-free and, to support nurseries delivering more free places for parents, it will increase funding for the sector by £300 million.
- The improvement in the nation’s finances used to help on tax credits. Because of the improvement in the public finances, the simplest thing to do is not to phase these changes in, but to avoid them altogether. Tax credits are being phased out anyway, universal credit is introduced.
- Average saving of £30 from the projected energy bills of 24 million households by introducing a cheaper domestic energy efficiency scheme.
Commenting after the Spending Review and Autumn Statement, Chief Secretary to the Treasury and Member of Parliament for Chelsea & Fulham, Greg Hands said: “This Autumn Statement delivers on the promise that the Conservatives made to working people here in Chelsea & Fulham and across the country, that we would put the British people’s security first.
“This Conservative-majority Government is protecting our economic security by taking the difficult decisions to live within our means and bring our debts down. And we’re protecting our national security by defending our country’s interests abroad and keeping our citizens safe at home.
“I have received a really positive response – from across the political spectrum, in fact – here in Chelsea & Fulham, to the Spending Review and Autumn Statement, and I look forward to continuing to serve my constituents not only as their local MP, but also as Chief Secretary to the Treasury.”
The full text of the Spending Review and Autumn Statement can be found here.