I support the work being done to turn this country's economy around.
We came into Government to address one of the biggest economic crises since the Second World War. While it is never straightforward, Britain is moving out of intensive care - from rescue to recovery. The Spending Round sets out how we will secure that recovery. We have applied three principles: reform; fairness; and growth. We will invest over £300bn – guaranteed to the end of this decade. Current spending will reduce by £11.5bn in 2015-16. The decisions we take aren’t easy, but we are making more progress towards a Britain on the rise.
• Council tax bills kept down. The Government will support councils to freeze council tax in 2014-15 and 2015-16. This will mean nearly £100 off the average council tax bill for families over the next two years.
• Health: NHS protected, social care prioritised. We are protecting the NHS. Efficiency savings are re-invested in the frontline. We will merge part of the health and social care budgets, spending £3 billion on joined-up care.
• Welfare: capping spending and new conditionality package. A tough new welfare cap to control costs from April 2015. New conditions imposed on jobseekers: weekly jobcentre attendance, Upfront Job Search and a 7 day wait before claiming, claimants will lose benefits unless they learn English. The resource budget will be cut by 9.5%.
• Transport: infrastructure prioritised. The transport capital budget will rise by 5.5% to £9.5 billion. The capital budget for transport will be set out to 2020, allowing the largest programme of road investment for 50 years. The resource budget will be cut by 9%.
• BIS: science and apprenticeships boosted. The BIS capital budget will increase by 9%, which includes huge investment in science, with real terms increases in science capital to 2020. Apprenticeship funding and UKTI support for exports will be increased. The resource budget will reduce by 6%.
Also very good news on the education budgets - I await the detail but it can only be good news that we are getting a change to the Local Authority funding for education: this has held back Northumberland for years and I am very hopeful this will be good news locally in Prudhoe, Haydon Bridge, Hexham and Ponteland