The Chancellor set out the challenges the country faces to pay for the pandemic and the war in Ukraine in the autumn statement.
Jeremy Hunt was again very honest about what this means and we will all pay more tax. But his measures will bring financial stability and tackle inflation. They protect the most vulnerable during the cost-of-living and energy pressures and they lay some good foundations for the future.
Investment in infrastructure projects, nuclear in the shape of Sizewell C and the continuation of the Levelling Up fund shows the plan for growth and jobs are continuing. The NHS is yet again receiving more funding.
But an important investment is the investment in our young people. I have spoken to schools minister Nick Gibb in recent weeks and talked about schools needing more funding on the television. I raised the concerns that local headteachers brought to me and made it clear I wanted to see an increase in funding for our schools.
Several of our schools and local school governors had asked me to do this. I was happy to pass on their messages as I agree with them.
The upshot is that the Chancellor listened to myself and many colleagues. There is now an extra £2.3bn for schools in each of the next two years. This is around £1,000 more for every pupil by 2025.
The Chancellor has been frank with us and I have always been honest about the country’s financial challenges too. There are no easy ways out of paying for what has happened to the world over the last few years. Furlough, the vaccine programme, free covid tests, support for businesses, lockdowns – they all need to be paid for in some way.
Putin’s war and inflation are the added headaches for all countries. The UK is not alone in these challenges. The IMF says a third of the world’s economies are now in recession. Many Eurozone countries have similar or worse inflation than the UK.
Today, we took a step towards stability and towards balancing the books, reducing our significant debt while paving the way to growth and lower taxes.