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Spending Review and Autumn Statement — Statement

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 4:04 pm on 25th November 2015.

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Photo of Lord O'Neill of Gatley Lord O'Neill of Gatley The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury 4:04 pm, 25th November 2015

My Lords, on the second question, which I assume specifically refers to the so-called tampon tax, the Chancellor took great delight in announcing to the other place that a number of women’s charities would be direct beneficiaries of the money we accrued from the imposed tax from the EU. In the mean time, the Government will continue to debate the merits of that tax with the EU.

On the first question, as I touched on, the basis for the OBR’s improved forecast is of course the circular connection between the improvement in the economy—which I repeat that the OBR has become slightly more optimistic about—and the improved nominal GDP outlook for the rest of this Parliament, as well as tax revenues. That has given the flexibility for the Chancellor to commit—or recommit—to the mandate that the Government successfully achieved from the electorate to reduce the level of debt and to move towards a fiscal surplus, while choosing various priorities in domestic spending. Indeed, it is that economic success that has been so helpful in giving the flexibility highlighted in today’s policies.