George Osborne's Autumn Statement delivers, he says, 'On the promise we made to the British people we would put their security first'.
Here's a summary of his speech:
- To protect our economic security, by taking the difficult decisions to live within our means and bring our debts down. The public spending plans I set out today mean we will reach a surplus of £10.1 billion in 2019/20 – that’s higher than was forecast at the Budget and means Britain will be out of the red and into the black.
- To protect our national security, by defending our country’s interests abroad and keeping our citizens safe at home. There will be no cuts in the police budget with real terms protection for police funding and we deliver on our commitment to spend 2% of our national income on defence.
"But this Spending Review does not just ensure the economic and national security of our country, it builds on that with:
- Full funding for the Five Year Forward View that the NHS itself put forward as the plan for its future with the first £6 billion delivered up-front next year.
- The biggest real terms increase to the basic State Pension in 15 years. Thanks to our commitment to the triple lock, next year the basic state pension will rise by £3.35 to £119.30 a week.
- The biggest housebuilding programme by any government since the 1970s with a doubling of the housing budget to over £2 billion a year. Our bold plan to back families who aspire to buy their own home will deliver 400,000 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. We will abolish the uniform business rate so councils will be able to cut rates to attract a new business to their area, but because the amount the government raises in business rates is much greater than the amount we give to local councils through the local government grant we will phase that grant out entirely and devolve additional responsibilities.
- A new apprenticeship levy to deliver three million apprenticeships. This will ensure large businesses share the cost of training people, but no business with a pay bill below £3 million will have to pay. We will also increase the funding for each apprenticeship to make sure these are high quality apprenticeships.
- Real terms protection of schools budget. We will maintain funding for free infant school meals, protect rates for the pupil premium, and increase the cash in the dedicated schools grant. We’re 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 working families get the help they need. From 2017, we will fund 30 hours of free childcare for working families with three and four year olds. We’ll support £10,000 of childcare costs tax free and to support nurseries delivering more free places for parents we’ll increase the 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 as we introduce universal credit.
- An average saving of £30 from the projected energy bills of 24 million households by introducing a cheaper domestic energy efficiency scheme.
Five years ago, when I presented our first Spending Review, our economy was in crisis and as the letter Labour left behind said: there was no money left. Our job then was to rescue Britain. Today, our job is to rebuild Britain. Build our finances. Build our defences. Build our society."