UK Economy Debate

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Department: HM Treasury
Wednesday 21st February 2024

(5 months ago)

Lords Chamber
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Lord Livermore Portrait Lord Livermore (Lab)
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My Lords, the UK’s growth forecast was recently downgraded for every single year for the next three years. Debt is set to surpass £3 trillion for the first time ever. We are seeing the biggest ever fall in living standards and the tax burden is set to reach its highest ever level. Now, the ONS has confirmed that Britain has fallen into recession, with GDP per capita falling in every single quarter of the past year. Yet the Chancellor says, “Our plan is working”. Was it part of the Government’s plan, having spent 14 years in the economic slow lane, to now put our economy into reverse?

Baroness Vere of Norbiton Portrait The Parliamentary Secretary, HM Treasury (Baroness Vere of Norbiton) (Con)
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I absolutely believe that our plan is working. It is critical that we continue along the path that we have set out. One of the biggest challenges we have faced in this country over recent months is high inflation. That is the biggest barrier to growth and that is why halving it is still our top priority. Thanks to decisive action, supported by the Government, inflation has fallen. If one looks at what happens when inflation falls, one sees that interest rates can also fall, which will also mean that growth will begin to rise. The noble Lord mentioned growth. It is the case that the Government have very clear policies for growth. Noble Lords will discuss them with me shortly, as we debate the Finance Bill.