The hon. Lady will know that the deficit was up at about 10%—£150 billion a year—at the time we inherited the mess that her party left us with. That deficit has now reduced by a full 80%, to below 2% of GDP, and will go down further as we move forward. Now, let me make some progress.
As I was saying, these are the economic facts of life and, as a great lady once said:
“The facts of life are conservative.”
Under this Conservative Government, sound finances are being restored. The future is brighter, bringing with it our increased commitment to our public services, most notably to our highest priority of all, our national health service. Thanks to the commitment of this Government and the hard work of the British people, we are now entering a new era. The deficit is fading, real wages are rising, the debt is declining and better times are returning. We now have a near record level of employment, with unemployment at a 40-year low, and we have halved youth unemployment since 2010. Central to this progress is my right hon. Friend the Chancellor’s Budget and this Bill.
This Bill introduces a tax cut for 32 million people, through bringing forward by a year our manifesto commitment to increase the personal allowance to £12,500 and the higher rate threshold to £50,000.