“Mr. Speaker

“I am acutely conscious of the fact that the House has other pressing matters on its mind today….To avoid making this statement any longer than necessary…I am laying a WMS which contains additional announcements and provides further details of those that I will make”.

“Last night’s vote leaves a cloud of uncertainty hanging over our economy.”

Mr. Speaker,

“Last night’s vote leaves a cloud of uncertainty hanging over our economy.  And our most urgent task in this House is to lift that uncertainty. But the economy, itself, is remarkably robust: It has grown for nine consecutive years. With the longest unbroken quarterly growth run of any G7 economy and is forecast to continue growing in each of the next five years.”

“An economy that has created over 3.5 million net new jobs. That has seen female participation in the workforce increase to record levels. And that is now delivering the fastest rate of wage growth in over a decade.”

“An economy that has defied expectations and will provide the solid foundation that Britain needs to seize the opportunities that the future offers.”

“And thanks to the difficult decisions we have taken in the last nine years and the hard work of the British people, I can also report today on public finances that continue to improve.”

“So that, provided we do reach a deal to leave the European Union with an orderly transition, this country, for the first time in a decade, will have genuine and sustainable choices about its future.”

“Today’s OBR report marks another step on Britain’s road out of austerity.  And I’d like to thank Robert Chote and his team for their work.”

“Despite the slowing world economy, the OBR expect Britain to continue to grow in every year of the forecast. At 1.2% this year. With both the IMF and the OECD forecasting the UK to grow faster than Germany;”

“Then 1.4% in 2020, as forecast at the budget…and 1.6% in each of the final three years;  Cumulative growth over the five years now slightly higher than the Budget forecast.”

“Meanwhile, Britain’s remarkable jobs story is set to continue.”

“By 2023 the OBR expect to see 600,000 more new jobs in our economy. And despite the constant attempts from the Opposition front bench to talk down our remarkable achievement on jobs… The fact Mr. Speaker is this, last year, 96% of new jobs were full-time.”

“With the OBR revising up wage growth to 3% or higher in every year. And with inflation now around the target throughout the forecast period…that means real wage growth in every year of the forecast.”

“A growing economy; A thriving labour market; Inflation on target;”

“Mr. Speaker, a solid foundation on which to build Britain’s future.”

“And there’s good news on the public finances too.”

“Borrowing this year will be just 1.1% of GDP. £3 billion lower than forecast at the Autumn Budget. Looking forward, borrowing will fall from £29.3 billion in 2019-20, then £21.2 billion, £17.6 billion, £14.4 billion and finally £13.5 billion in 2023-24. Its lowest level in 22 years.”

“We remain on track to meet both our fiscal targets early. With the cyclically adjusted deficit at 1.3% next year, falling to just 0.5% by 2023-24. And with headroom against our fiscal mandate in ’20-’21 increasing from £15.4 billion at the Autumn Budget to £26.6 billion today.”

“Less borrowing means less debt. Now lower in every year than forecast at the Budget. Falling to 82.2% of GDP next year, then 79%, 74.9%, 74%, and finally 73% in 2023-24. Our National Debt falling sustainably, for the first time in a generation. Since 2010 we have been steering the country on a journey of recovery.”

“Back then, the most important task was to get borrowing down to manageable levels.”

“But when I became Chancellor in 2016, I recognised that with the progress we had already made, as well as getting Britain’s debt down, our continued success as a nation would depend on investing in our future. Supporting our vital public services and keeping taxes low to attract talent and investment. I called it a ‘balanced approach’. And it is delivering: With the highest sustained levels of public capital investment in 40 years. Cuts in income taxes for more than 30 million people in three weeks’ time and debt on a sustained downward path for the first time in a generation.”

“I have made over £150 billion of new spending commitments since 2016.”

“And at the Budget, I announced that the long, but necessary, squeeze on current public spending would come to an end at the upcoming Spending Review. Setting out an indicative 5-year path of 1.2% per annum real terms increases in day-to-day spending on public services. Compared to real terms cuts of 3% per annum announced at SR 2010 and 1.3% cuts at SR 2015.”

“We have made our biggest choice on public spending: putting the NHS first in line, as the British public would expect, with my RHF the Prime Minister’s announcement of £34 billion of additional funding per year by the end of the period. The single largest cash commitment ever made by a peacetime British Government, to support our long-term plan for the NHS.”

“Delivering Mr. Speaker, improved cancer and mental health care.  A transformation of GP services. More doctors, more nurses and better outcomes for patients.”

“Now we need to address wider departmental spending for the next Review period. So, I can confirm today that assuming a Brexit deal is agreed over the next few weeks and the uncertainty that is hanging over our economy is lifted, I intend to launch a full three-year Spending Review before the summer recess, to be concluded alongside an Autumn Budget.”

“It will set departmental budgets beyond the NHS.  To reflect the public’s priorities between areas like social care, local government, schools, police, defence and the environment.  It will maximize value for taxpayers’ money through a renewed focus on delivering high-quality outcomes”.

“And if we leave the EU with a deal:-“

“And an orderly transition to a future economic partnership, we will see a Deal Dividend.  An economic boost from recovery in business confidence and investment. And a fiscal boost from a reduction in the minimum necessary level of fiscal headroom once the risk of a ‘no deal’ exit is removed. Giving us as a nation real choices as we use the Spending Review to decide how much of this ‘Deal Dividend’ we can prudently release. And how we would share it between increased spending on public services, capital investment in Britain’s future prosperity and keeping taxes low.  While always continuing to keep our debt falling.”

“Real terms increases in public spending. Record investment in Britain’s future. More jobs than ever before. Higher wages and lower taxes meaning increased take-home pay and for the first time in a generation our debt going down.”

“That, Mr. Speaker, is what I mean by an end to austerity.”

“But, Mr. Speaker, the progress we have made will be at risk if we cannot secure a smooth and orderly exit from the EU and a transition to a new partnership that protects the complex trading relationships businesses have built up over 45 years and on which so many British jobs depend.”

“I hoped we would do that last night but I am confident that we, as a House, will do it over the coming weeks”.

“Leaving with ‘No Deal’ would mean significant disruption in the short and medium-term and a smaller, less prosperous economy in the long-term, than if we leave with a Deal.”

“Higher unemployment; lower wages; higher prices in the shops. That is not what the British people voted for in June 2016.”

“Which is why all of us have a solemn duty in the days and weeks ahead.”

“…to put aside our differences and seek a compromise on which this House can agree…

…in the National Interest.”

You can continue reading the rest of the Chancellor’s Spring Statement Speech to the House here. 

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