Next Wednesday, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, will present his Budget to the House of Commons.
He will attempt to balance demands to increase public sector spending with the Government’s own strictly imposed fiscal rules.
Their ideological commitment to constraining capital spending on much needed new infrastructure threatens jobs and the country’s long-term prospects.
With incomes squeezed, prices rising and an unacceptable increase in the number of working families struggling to cope, the Conservatives can no longer call themselves the party of economic credibility.
In a speech to entrepreneurs last week, I set out a Lib Dem economic strategy to deliver a modern, forward-looking, outward-facing economy which will offer opportunities to young people and higher living standards for everyone.
Underpinning this vision is, of course, our belief that Britain should remain a member of the European Union and that the hard Brexit being pursued by Theresa May’s Conservatives can only deliver damaging results for our economy.
A Liberal Democrat budget would commit to the following:
- Increase capital spending, particularly on transport infrastructure and large-scale housebuilding. Borrowing to finance productive investment at very low-interest rates is financially responsible and good for the economy.
- Put a penny on each pound included for income tax to raise £6bn a year for the NHS
- Introduce a lifelong learning endowment to enable every 18 year old to fund their own training and professional development
- Reform business tax and clampdown on tax havens; including through a public register of beneficial ownership for Overseas Territories
I believe that these are essential actions that we need to take right now to address the weaknesses in our economy and to prepare us for the future.
To give hope to Britain, a serious strategy for growth and prosperity is needed. In today’s politics only the Liberal Democrats are offering it.