This afternoon, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, delivered the Autumn Statement 2015 and explained the decisions he had taken following the Comprehensive Spending Review.
It was always going to be a tricky balancing act because we need to keep reducing the deficit, which we have been doing over the last 5 years. The Chancellor laid out his spending plans up to 2020 and government departments will have to make savings, but there are also areas that have been protected. By 2020, the Chancellor will have eradicated the deficit and we will be living within our means.
We have been able to do this because we have had the fastest growing economy in the G7 over the last few years, growth is expected to continue at around 2.4% and tax revenues are forecast to grow.
There were many, many other announcements and I go into a few of them in more detail in my podcast. However I was particularly pleased to hear that as part of the Government’s continued commitment to national security there will be no cuts to the policing budget. This has been a very contentious issue and senior police officers had warned that two extensive cuts could impact on their ability to keep the public safe.
There were a few other things that came out today which are cause for celebration, including that the Chancellor has listened and decided not to go ahead with changes to Tax Credits at all.
Many people wrote to me with concerns and there were fears that the cuts were too extensive and could hit those people who were going out to work, often part-time, trying to do the right thing and support their families. I know many people will welcome this and it does show the Chancellor does listen when there are intended consequences.
Overall the announcements today can be separated into 4 key priorities:
1) A modern, integrated health and social care system that supports people at every stage of their lives
2) Continuing devolution of powers to local areas
3) Closing the gap between the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’
4) National security
Please do watch my podcast for a more in-depth look at today’s announcements.