• Sweden edition
 

The Diplomatic Dispatch

The British Ambassador to Sweden blogs on The Local

Facing up to the economic chill: Britain’s response

As winter sets in here, the Chancellor of the Exchequer delivered what’s called the Autumn Statement to Parliament in London on 5 December.

The Government’s economic strategy is focussed on reducing the deficit, restoring stability, rebalancing the economy and equipping the UK to compete in the global race.

The government’s new decisions relate to three key priorities:

Protecting the economy

Slow growth in the eurozone and other factors are leading to a more subdued and uneven recovery than expected with growth weaker and inflation higher than forecast. So the government plans::

•    funding £5.5 billion of additional infrastructure investment and support for businesses;
•    Tax measures that support growth, reward work, help with the cost of living and ensure that those with the most contribute the most.

Growth

To enable the UK to compete with emerging economies such as China, India and Brazil, the Government is taking action to rebalance and strengthen the economy while supporting those who want to work hard and get on, including:

•    A further one per cent cut in the main rate of corporation tax from April 2014, to 21 per cent;
•    Creation of a £1 billion Business Bank to help smaller businesses access finance and support;
•    Enabling UK Export Finance to provide up to £1.5 billion in loans to finance small firms’ exports;
•    Increased funding for UK Trade and Investments and extra support for the GREAT campaign to showcase Britain’s capabilities.

Fairness

Fairness is a fundamental aspect of our plans to reduce the deficit and protect the economy.  The Government will help to ensure that it pays to work, supporting pensioners and those most in need, by:

•    Supporting those on low and middle incomes by increasing the personal allowance:
•    Increasing the basic State Pension by 2.5 per cent;
•    Targeting the promoters of aggressive tax avoidance schemes and the closure of loopholes;
•    Tackling offshore tax evasion by the creation of a dedicated HMRC unit, maintaining the momentum from the Government’s recent agreements with Switzerland and the US.

The government has also launched a major exercise to evaluate the impact of the EU on the UK. I’ll write about that in my next blog….

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