At the beginning of this week the Chancellor, George Osborne, outlined his vision of a smaller state for our Country as well as some of the challenges we will face in the coming years. Although Britain is expected to see one of the fastest growth rates in the developed world in 2014, we still need to stay the course on our economic recovery plan and ensure that future generations are not forced to repay the cost of high spending.
Some commentators have suggested that the idea of balancing the books and working towards a budget surplus is an unrealistic goal. However, inaction simply continues to add billions to our national debt, which will hit £1.2 trillion by April. To leave such a legacy for our children is reckless and it cannot be right that as a Government we need to set aside £50 billion a year for debt interest payments. This money could be used on many worthy causes and we should not be willing to accept the legacy that 13 years of a reckless spending Labour Government left us.
As part of this Government’s plan for a balanced budget we will need to see a total of £60 billion of spending cuts over the next four years. Now we have seen Labour adopt a general line that they would spend less recklessly than before, but when it comes to individual savings they shy away from endorsing tough decisions and instead give people false hope that they would reinstate high levels of spending. Well they are going to have a make a decision later this year when Parliament votes on these headline savings to deal with our budget deficit.
By setting a roadmap to deal with our deficit you ensure financial stability and keep mortgage rates low. At the same time you can support the recovery by ensuring that it always pays to remain in work. That is why the Government will be increasing the tax-free allowance up to £10,000 from this April and therefore ensuring that the typical worker retains an extra £700 of their hard earned wage. We also need to encourage businesses to take on more young workers and that is why from 2015 employers will no longer have to pay National Insurance contributions for new workers under the age of 21.
These steps follow on from the action that has already been taken which has helped the UK to establish a record level of employment, with Britain’s biggest companies preparing to invest and hire even more staff this coming year. Those on the left had said that cuts to the size of the state and the number of state workers could not be managed by the economy. But to the credit of employers we have seen four jobs created in the private sector for every one lost in the public sector.
Earlier this week on Monday I asked the Department of Education Ministers some questions with regard to apprenticeships and small businesses, and I was very pleased that my colleague, Matthew Hancock MP, in one of his answers, was quick to congratulate Lincoln businesses, both small medium and large for ensuring there are now a record 2,200 people participating in apprenticeships in my constituency of Lincoln. These are meaningful, long-term apprenticeships that are enabling young hardworking people to ensure the success of our beautiful City and the nation’s economy.
There is much more to be done in 2014 and beyond, but by sticking to our long-term economic plan we can secure a better and more financially secure future for Lincoln, for Britain, and perhaps most importantly for hardworking people and their families.
MP for Lincoln