The past few years have not been easy for the global or the British economy. We have faced the legacy of Covid, and then the war in Ukraine added to global uncertainties regarding energy security and energy costs, especially in Western Europe.

Since the beginning of 2023, the Government has been working on five priorities. Three of them are economic. To halve inflation, grow the economy and reduce debt.

We have made good progress. Inflation has fallen from 11.1 per cent to 4.0 per cent, the economy has performed better than forecast, wages are rising, mortgage rates are starting to come down, the UK economy has outperformed many of our European neighbours and debt is on track to fall as a share of the economy.

The job is not done. But because of the progress we have made, the economy is turning a corner and we have been able to afford tax cuts as part of our plan to reward work and grow the economy and support people across the UK.

In the recent budget, the Chancellor announced that we're cutting taxes for 27 million working people from April, by again cutting the main rate of employee National Insurance Contributions (NICs). Combined with the cut at the Autumn Statement, that is a tax cut of over £900 for the average worker earning £35,400 – giving the lowest effective personal tax rate since 1975.

There were also NIC cuts for two million self-employed people. Combined with the Autumn Statement, that is a tax cut of around £650 for an average self-employed person earning £28,000 a year.

 We're halving the income rate at which Child Benefit is withdrawn, benefiting some parents by an average of £1,260. By April 2026 we will also end the unfairness for single earner families.

We are continuing the five pence fuel duty cut and freezing rates for the 14th consecutive year– a £3.1 billion tax cut for drivers.

The Government are supporting and reforming the NHS with an additional £2.45 billion for next year and a £3.4 billion productivity plan, saving money and cutting wait times.

 We're continuing to provide targeted support for the most vulnerable. To help with the cost of essentials, we are providing an additional £500 million to enable the extension of the Household Support Fund from April to September 2024.

 And we are continuing to protect the Triple Lock, and increasing pensions by 8.5 per cent.  We also provide targeted support through the Warm Home Discount and the Winter Fuel and Cold Weather payments.

We have taken the difficult choices with the public finances to get us back on track after the ravages of Covid - something that no other political party has had a realistic plan to do. 

If we stick to the plan, then better economic times lie ahead for our country, our businesses and every family, including here in Woking.