The chancellor presented his first spring statement today which was a short but affirmative delivery following his first autumn budget under 6 months ago. The economy is looking healthier than previously predicted and job creation continues on the rise, in spite of being faced with continued uncertainty from Brexit negotiations, a small matter that was expected tocause a lot more damage to our economy – not that we are out the woods yet. Over the past 7 years the economy has grown consistently and has certainly exceeded expectations, with unemployment at a record low and more being done to increase people in work by 2022. £80 million of funds will be available for small businesses to employ apprentices in a bid to improve the studying and working relationship for the next generation.
It’s good news on the manufacturing front, especially for our clients and in our region, as manufacturing has seen an uninterrupted 50 year expansion. Borrowing has decreased since 2010 and the National Debt will begin to decline over the next 5 years, estimated to be 77.9% of GDP in 2022/2023, from the 85.6% we currently have in 2017/2018. The housing challenge is still firmly on the agenda and in the West Midlands alone, a £100 million grant will be made available to help to build 215,000 homes in the area. Also on the housing issue, the welcome news in the last Budget of the abolition of stamp duty for first time buyers has apparently already been of benefit to 60,000 people.
Plastic waste and recycling is a continuous issue we face and is particularly in the public eye at the moment. Therefore the government is making £20 million available from existing budgets in a first phase for businesses and universities who want to take on the challenge of presenting new ideas to tackle the environmental challenges and reduce the amount of plastic we utilise.
The overriding message was that we are building an outward looking, free trading nation with an economy based on innovation, whose best years are still ahead of us.