After several years of sluggish growth and stagnating wages, Britain is growing again.
The Government’s long-term plan to cut public spending and reduce borrowing has given British businesses the confidence to invest and create jobs – 1.8 million of them over the last four years, more than all the new jobs created in the 27 other countries in the EU combined.
This combination of steady growth and low inflation mean that people in work for over a year are beginning to see increases in the amount they earn. For the Government the question is what to do with the proceeds of economic revival. Now of course we would all like to pay less in tax – and I am glad that the Chancellor has found a way to cut stamp duty for people buying all but the most expensive homes, to support family holidays by scrapping air passenger duty for children under 12, to help people who lose their husband or wife by making sure that they can inherit their pension pot or ISAs without paying tax, to encourage businesses to employ more apprentices by removing national insurance on the wages of apprentices aged under 25.
These are all very welcome changes, made possible by the improvement in Britain’s economic performance. But I know that my constituents’ biggest concern is that they should always be able to rely on the local NHS and be confident that the people they love will receive good care if they fall ill.
David Cameron spent countless nights sleeping on the floors of Great Ormond Street Hospital, when his son Ivan was alive, so the security of the NHS is his top priority too. That is why, this week, George Osborne committed an extra £2 billion a year to the health service, money that will pay for more nurses, more doctors, more life-saving drugs and more new equipment.
In every child’s life, there comes a moment when he or she learns that money does not grow on trees, that their parents and grandparents have worked hard to earn enough to invest in a good life for their family. Over the last few years we have been reminded that this is true for countries too. It is only because Britain’s economy is strong, that we can afford to invest in the NHS. It is only because David Cameron and George Osborne have a long-term economic plan that is working that the future of free healthcare at Grantham Hospital is secure.