Walker welcomes Spring Statement

Robin Walker, MP for Worcester, has welcomed news from the Chancellor in today’s Spring Statement which outlined that UK economy is continuing to grow, with wages increasing and unemployment at historic lows, providing a solid foundation on which to build Britain’s economic future.

The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) predicted UK economic growth of 1.2% this year, then 1.4% in 2020, and 1.6% in each of the final three years. The OBR also expects to see 600,000 new jobs by 2023, with wage growth at 3% or higher in each year of the forecast period, thus consistently outstripping inflation expectations.

Robin was encouraged that £700 million apprenticeship package has been brought forward ensuring people have the skills that employers need which is vital to creating the workforce of the future. These reforms will also mean that from the 1st of April, employers will see the co-investment rate they pay cut by a half from 10% to 5%.

The budget also builds on the Government’s commitment to tackling knife crime and will make funds available immediately to police forces in England. This will be an additional £100 million over the course of the next year, to pay for overtime targeted on knife crime.

The budget outlined the commitment of the Conservative Government to create quality, affordable housing through the Affordable Homes Guarantee Scheme. The 2017 Autumn Budget set out a comprehensive package of new policies to raise housing supply by the end of this Parliament to its highest level since 1970, on track to reach 300,000 a year on average, which is good news for major local housing providers such as Sanctuary and Fortis.

The Spring Statement set out further steps to deliver this ambition, which will guarantee up to £3 billion of borrowing by housing associations in England to support delivery of around 30,000 affordable homes. Robin was also pleased that this will restore the proportion of first-time buyers to above 50% for the first time in a generation. Robin has long campaigned for more affordable homes, both for rent and for ownership.

Speaking after the Budget speech, Robin said:

“This is a Budget that shows our economy is in good health, with debt falling and employment at record levels. Crucially, the vast majority of new jobs being created are full time and wages are rising faster than the rate of inflation.”

“This is a strong position from which the government can drive forward its agenda of investing in jobs and growth. If growth of this nature continues, it will enable us to increase public spending to meet the challenges facing schools, hospitals and police whilst continuing to pay down our debts.”     

“I was really pleased to see the £700 million apprenticeship package has been brought forward to support small businesses take on and train apprentices, an additional boost for affordable housing and extra funding for the police to tackle knife crime.

ENDS

Notes to editors

To read more on the Government’s Spring Statement 2019, see:

https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/spring-statement-2019

To read the Chancellor’s Budget speech in full, please see:

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/spring-statement-2019-philip-hammonds-speech