Spending review

Yesterday the Chancellor of the Exchequer updated MP’s on the financial situation of the Country and set out his spending plans for the years ahead.

With so many areas protected from spending cuts it naturally means greater cuts for unprotected areas. However, thanks to lower interest rates and a better economic forecast from the independent Office of Budget responsibility the Chancellor was able to make some changes which I believe will be widely welcomed.

The headlines have been grabbed by the decision not to change the rules on tax credits. The Government will still be saving the planned £12 billion from welfare changes. In the longer term tax credits will eventually be phased out as more people move on to the much simpler Universal Credit.

Crucially, the plan put forward by the NHS for the next five years will be paid for in full and the first £6 billion next year. In addition to confirming the Government will continue to spend2% of our national income on defence the Chancellor announced there will be no cuts to the police budget with spending on the police protected in line with inflation.

Last night I spoke at an event in Westminster organised by Conservatives for Liberty on the continuing threat to individual freedoms.

Autumn Statement

Today is the day of one of the biggest set piece events in the Commons of the year. The Autumn Statement. everyone knows that the big picture is about how the Country moves to a position where it can start living within its means. we simply cannot go on spending more money than we get in. The last Labour Governed should never have allowed the national finances to get so far out of balance and as we are all finding it is very easy to spend more money. It is very difficult to save money. It is we will all know the detail before long it is not worth speculating on what might be announced. Instead here are some of the background statistics on the economy which provide the backdrop for the Autumn Statement.

Gross Domestic Product (GDP) grew by 0.3% in the first quarter of 2015. In other words the economy is growing

Inflation as measured by the Consumer Prices Index was  -0.1% in October 2015. This is the first time inflation has fallen on an annual basis for 2 months in a row since the index was created in 1997.

The employment rate in the period July to September 2015 was 73.7%. This is the highest rate since comparable records began in 1971.

[Source House of Commons Library briefing]