Last Updated: 20 March 2019
Created: 19 March 2019
The Chancellor Philip Hammond set out the Government’s plan for a bright future for Britain at his Spring Statement last week.
There was good news for the economy as the Office of Budget Responsibility announced that it was revising up its economic growth predictions and expects the economy to grow at 1.2 per cent this year, faster than Germany, accelerating to 1.4 per cent in 2020 and to 1.6 per cent in each of the final three years.
Wage growth is also expected to grow faster than predicted in every year to 2023, with wages growing faster than prices in each year and reaching a record high rate of 3.3 per cent growth in 2023.
The OBR also announced it expected there to be 600,000 more jobs by 2023, meaning that in 2023 there would be 4.1 million more people in work than in 2010.
Revisions have also been made to deficit predictions, with the deficit £3 billion lower than expected this year, down to 1.1 per cent of GDP from almost 10 per cent under Labour.
Among key announcements include an increase to the National Living Wage this April to £8.21, an annual pay rise of £690 for a full-time worker. The Personal Allowance will also rise in April to £12,500 and Higher Rate Threshold to £50,000, cutting tax for 32 million people.
The Chancellor announced that the Government is to tackle ‘period poverty’ by providing free sanitary products to schools, so that no girl misses out on her education.
Investing in technology and cementing the UK as a destination for new technology was also on the agenda. The Government has promised £79 million in a new supercomputer in Edinburgh, £45 million in research in genomics, £81 million in a new laser centre, and to reaffirm its commitment to the JET nuclear fusion reactor.
Further efforts to make the dream of homeownership a reality for millions of people were made, with £3bn for the Affordable Homes Guarantee Scheme – which will deliver 30,000 new affordable homes.
There was also a £100m investment to help the police tackle knife crime in our major cities. The money will be used to pay for additional overtime targeted specifically on knife crime, as well as funding Violent Crime Reduction Units to deliver a wider cross-agency response. An additional £100m will also be available to the areas worst affected by serious violent crime.
There was also a focus on green growth, with the Government announcing that it was to introduce a Future Homes Standard, bringing the end of fossil-fuel heating systems in all new houses from 2025. The Government is also planning to investigate whether planes should be required to offer genuine carbon-offsets – allowing travellers to have a ‘zero-carbon travel’ option.
Enhancing biodiversity while ensuring economic prosperity was discussed in the statement as the Chancellor announced the Government will require developers in England to enhance habitats for wildlife alongside developments, as well as a new global review which will assess the economic value of biodiversity globally.
North Swindon MP Justin Tomlinson said: “Our economy continues to strengthen, with wages, and growth rising; and the deficit falling. This is thanks to the Government’s balanced approach to the economy, and it is vital that this work continues.”