George Osborne's spending review statement showed how by cutting waste and inefficiency in government, you have more to spend on the things that really matter. Reform of the public sector is the driving force behind this government, and is making savings in expenditure possible. George Osborne was clear from day one as Chancellor of the Exchequer that we had to cut borrowing and the nation's debts; so that we could once again live within our means as a country. In a changing world, to be competitive, create the jobs of the future and support those who need care, you have to be able to pay your way.
The national budget deficit is down by one third, and annual borrowing down by £49billion; which is a saving virtually the same as the entire education budget. Even Labour is starting to accept that we can't go back to that unsustainable level of borrowing; even if it is not yet clear exactly what they would spend should they win the next election.
Winning this argument on debt and borrowing has only been possible because it is being supported by real reform of government. £5billion of the spending cuts announced today for the 2015/15 spending period are being funded by Whitehall efficiencies, which have been identified and delivered by Ministers.
Overall the civil service has been reduced to its smallest size since World War Two. Labour said that cutting hundreds of thousands of public sector jobs in difficult economic times would increase unemployment; in fact unemployment has fallen and in the last year for every job that has been lost in the public sector, five have been created by the private sector.
When cuts to the Home Office budget were announced in 2010, Labour said that crime would rise and it would be impossible to reduce levels of immigration. Yet, on a smaller budget the police have cut crime by 10%, and net immigration into the UK is down by one third.
Britain's long term recovery needs to be built on a strong and competitive economy, which will generate the tax revenues we will need to pay for services and to pay off our debts. This requires investing now in the infrastructure we will need in the future. George Osborne announced today that we will spend £300billion by the end of this decade on new roads, rail networks, power stations and other vital infrastructure; more than Labour spent in the previous decade when the economy was growing.
In addition to this there will be extra investment in supporting scientific innovation, helping companies to export through the services provided by UK Trade and Investment, and providing extra resources for new apprenticeship places.
The government is saving today by reforming public services, and investing for tomorrow by building the infrastructure that will support our future growth.