Steve Brine MP

for Winchester & Chandler's Ford

25 NOV 2015

Steve Brine welcomes Spending Review focus on national and economic security

Steve Brine has welcomed the Chancellor's Spending Review and Autumn Statement, which delivers on the promise the Conservative Party made to the British people to focus on our national and economic security.

The public spending plans set out in the Spending Review, delivered on Wednesday 25th November in the House of Commons, mean Britain will reach a surplus of £10.1 billion in 2019/20, higher than was forecast at the Budget this summer, meaning Britain will be out of the red and into the black.

At the heart of the review was protecting our national security by defending our country's interests abroad and keeping our citizens safe at home. The Spending Review announced there will be no cuts in the police budget with real terms protection for police funding and delivers on the Government's commitment to spend 2% of our national income on defence.

Steve Brine said: "For me the statement was all about security, as we promised at the election. Financial security as well as national security and everything flows from that including a huge amount of extra money for my department, the NHS, more for mental health and protection for Hampshire police from further cuts.

"One highlight for me was the continuing commitment from my Government to reform our prison estate and get smarter about how we handle offenders. I will be continuing to press this during the Parliament.

"In total, the Spending Review commits £4 trillion pounds over the next five years. This is a huge commitment of the hard-earned cash of British taxpayers, and the government knows it has an obligation to make sure it is well spent.

"Our approach is not simply retrenchment, it is to reform and rebuild, and as PPS to the Health Secretary, I was particularly excited with full funding of the Five Year Forward View, put forward by the NHS itself, as the plan for its future with the first £6 billion delivered up-front next year.

"I was also pleased to see the biggest real terms rise in the basic State Pension in 15 years. Thanks to our commitment to the triple lock, next year the basic state pension will rise by £3.35 to £119.30 a week."

It was also announced that the biggest house building programme by any government since the 1970s will take place, with a doubling of the housing budget to over £2 billion a year. The plan will back families who aspire to buy their own home will deliver 400,000 affordable new homes by the end of the decade.

In other measures, it was announced that by the end of the parliament, local government will keep all of the revenue from business rates. The government will abolish the uniform business rate so councils will be able to cut rates to attract new businesses, but because the amount government raises in business rates is much greater than the amount we give to local councils through the local government grant we will phase that grant out entirely and devolve additional responsibilities.

There will also be a new apprenticeship levy to deliver 3 million apprenticeships. This will ensure large businesses share the cost of training, but businesses with a wage bill below £3 million won't have to pay. The government will also increase funding for apprenticeships to make sure they are high quality apprenticeships.

Steve Brine continued: "I know a great many of my constituents will be please at the real terms protection of the schools budget. We will maintain funding for free infant school meals, protect rates for the pupil premium, and increase the cash in the dedicated schools grant. In addition, we're also going to open 500 new free schools and University Technical Colleges, and invest £23 billion in school buildings and 600,000 new school places.

"And on top of that, we will see the largest ever investment in free childcare so working families get the help they need. From 2017, we will fund 30 hours of free childcare for working families with three and four year olds. We'll support £10,000 of childcare costs tax-free and, to support nurseries delivering more free places for parents, we'll increase funding for the sector by £300 million."

One of the biggest announcements made by Mr Osborne was that, because of the improvement in the public finances, there are now no plans to phase tax credit changes in, and they will be avoided altogether. There was further good news for household budgets with an average saving of £30 from the projected energy bills of 24 million households by introducing a cheaper domestic energy efficiency scheme.

Steve Brine added: "This Autumn Statement delivers on the promise we made to working people that we would put their security first. Protecting our economic security by taking the difficult decisions to live within our means and bring our debts down. And protecting our national security by defending our country's interests abroad and keeping our citizens safe at home."

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