But I also know that for many of you what matters most is your job security and managing the cost of living. It may seem like all we ever talk about in Westminster is Brexit. And of course, it’s right that we do focus on getting the right deal. But we also need to keep building a solid foundation for our future, so we can seize the opportunities ahead. We’ve had to take some difficult decisions, but after nine years of hard work, austerity is coming to an end, the deficit is down by four fifths, and we’ve created 3.6 million new jobs.
We’ve restored the public finances to health, and the Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts that we will meet our borrowing target with up to £27bn to spare.
Later this year we will use the Spending Review and Budget to decide how we share this between increased spending on public services, investment in Britain’s future prosperity, keeping taxes low, and continuing to keep our debt falling.
For the first time in a decade, we will have genuine and sustainable choices about our future.
Some people have argued that we should increase taxes. But we promised to keep taxes as low as possible so that you can keep more of your hard-earned cash.
This week marks the start of the new tax year and we’re delivering around 35 tax, benefit, and pensions changes.
We said in our Manifesto that we’d increase the personal allowance (the amount you earn tax-free) to £12,500. We’re not just delivering on this promise, we’re doing it a year early.
Overall, including our increase to the higher rate threshold, this means a tax cut for 32 million people.
If you’re one of the 1.8 million people set to benefit from the increases in the National Living Wage, you’ll also get a pay rise this month – around £690 over the coming year for a full-time worker.
if you’re one of the 2.4 million families with children or people with disabilities who will claim Universal Credit, you’ll be up to £635 better off a year.
And anyone who drives to work will save money because we’ve frozen fuel duty, again, for the ninth year in a row, saving the average driver £1,000.
We’re supporting Britain’s strivers, grafters and carers – the people who are the lifeblood of our economy – who keep the country going no matter what.
We’re sticking to our plan of keeping taxes low for businesses too.We’re reducing business rates bills by over £13 billion over the next five years, keeping our high streets thriving and evolving for years to come. From this week, up to 90 per cent of small retailers will receive a third off their business rates bills – a saving of up to £8,000.
And we’re sticking to our promises to cut corporation tax and increase the investment allowance to cut tax bills for businesses that are investing in their future.
The start of the new tax year also means nearly £1.1 billion extra funding for the police, access to £1.3 billion more for local councils, and £1.1 billion extra for our schools.
We are getting debt falling, while investing in our vital public services and keeping taxes low for people, families and businesses.
Our balanced approach is paying off, and we can now start to take advantage of the opportunities that lie ahead for us.
We are the fifth largest economy in the world, a successful, outward-looking nation, ready to embrace a brighter future and build a country of which we can all be proud.