9:27am Monday 23rd December 2013
By Neil Carmichael
BRITAIN'S economic plan is working, but there is still much to do to secure sustainable growth for the whole economy.
We must ensure we have a responsible recovery with benefits for everybody.
This also means we continue to rebalance the economy with an emphasis on production and exporting.
Growth forecasts have been upgraded with a 2.4 per cent projected for next year.
One immediate consequence of this good news is the continued falls in unemployment with the latest figures pushing the total number of unemployed in the Stroud Valleys and Vale to less than 1,000.
At the same time, our national deficit is falling year on year, giving even more reasons to be more confident about the economy’s overall prospects.
This matters for several reasons, not least in protecting our interest rates for business and reducing overall interest rate payments.
This is a good start but more needs to be done.
Businesses of all sizes need to be encouraged so, for the small businesses, a business rate £1,000 allowance in 2014/15 will help to support cafés, pubs and shops.
Freezing fuel duty again helps businesses and families (so far, fuel is 20ppl cheaper than it would have been without these freezes).
Helping young people in employment and business is incredibly valuable both now in terms of social mobility and later as more skills are required.
To help employment, National Insurance has been scrapped for under 21s and more measures are now in place for find apprenticeships and training for school leavers.
Education is also receiving more resources.
Free school meals for all state-funded pupils up to Year 2 (and some disadvantaged students) will be introduced from September 2014.
More funding has been released to for capital spending in schools, particularly to create more school spaces.
To ensure massive deficits are not run up in the future, a new 'Charter for Budget Responsibility' will be introduced in December 2014.
This will include plans to run a surplus in prosperous economic times, reduce national debt, and introduce transparent and accountable fiscal mandate.
The reckless and disastrous spending up to 2010 must never be seen again.
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