Balanced Budget Rule — [Graham Stringer in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:17 pm on 23rd January 2019.

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Photo of Robert Jenrick Robert Jenrick The Exchequer Secretary 4:17 pm, 23rd January 2019

As we have already heard today, a great deal of progress has been made in that respect. Of course there is more to do, but we have to recognise the considerable progress that we have made. In 2010, as my hon. Friend the Member for North East Derbyshire said, we inherited a very severe situation: debt had nearly doubled in two years and was snowballing, while the deficit soared to a near record level—the highest in 50 years. Of course the financial crisis had contributed to that, but so had poor management of the public finances in the years leading up to it. We have made progress, and we are nearing a turning point in the public finances. Debt has begun its first sustained fall in a generation and the deficit has been reduced by four fifths—from 9.9% of GDP to 2% at the end of 2017-18. That is an important step forward, but there is a great deal more to do.