Spending Round 2019

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 12:56 pm on 4th September 2019.

Alert me about debates like this

Photo of Sajid Javid Sajid Javid The Chancellor of the Exchequer 12:56 pm, 4th September 2019

Thank you, Mr Speaker.

Let me reassure people of this: if we leave with no deal, we will be ready. Within my first few days as Chancellor, I provided £2.1 billion of extra funding for Brexit and no-deal preparedness, and today I can announce that we will provide a further £2 billion for Brexit delivery next year as well. That means more Border Force staff, better transport infrastructure at our ports and more support for business readiness. I have tasked the Treasury with preparing a comprehensive economic response to support the economy if needed, and will work closely with the independent Bank of England to co-ordinate fiscal and monetary policy.

Sensible economic policy means that we should plan for both outcomes, and we are doing so, but we should be careful not to let our focus on planning and preparedness distract us from the opportunities that lie ahead. Brexit will allow us to reshape the British economy and reaffirm our place as a world-leading economic power. We will have the opportunity to design smarter, more flexible regulation and to cut red tape that stifles innovation. We will be able to replace inefficient EU programmes with better, home-grown alternatives. Even if we leave with no deal, I am confident that we will be able to secure a deep, best-in-class free trade agreement with the EU and pursue a genuinely independent free trade policy with the rest of the world. Deal or no deal, I am confident that our best days lie ahead.

Although the immediate outcome of the talks is uncertain, there are some things that we can be certain about when it comes to the economy and our ability to set out what we can afford to spend. As we look towards our future outside the EU, we can build on some extraordinary economic strengths. At its heart, this country is an open, outward-looking trading nation. We are at our best when we look out to the world beyond our shores. That is not just a slogan. We are the No. 1 destination in Europe for inward investment. Our language, our location, our legal system and, most of all, our people make the UK a global hub for business. We are the home of world-class businesses. A stream of ideas and innovations flows from our brilliant universities and research institutes, making the UK second only to the United States in the all-time rankings of Nobel prize winners. We also have an economic landscape that has been watched over by long-standing, well respected institutions. All that will continue as we forge a new economic relationship with the EU.

But the vision of an open free-market enterprising economy is under threat, and if that threat transpires, it will have a direct impact on our spending power. It is under threat not from the people on the other side of the channel, but from the people on the other side of the Chamber. Let us be in no doubt about the biggest threat to the UK economy. The No. 1 concern raised by businesses and international investors is not the form of our exit from the EU; the real “Project Fear” is the agenda of the Labour party. If the Opposition had their way, whole sectors of the economy—