The Government inherited the largest deficit since the second world war. Since then, we have made substantial progress on reducing the deficit. Borrowing has already fallen by more than a third since 2009-10 and is forecast to have fallen by half this year as a share of GDP. The Government’s consolidation plans have been central to the reduction of the deficit.
I thank my hon. Friend for that answer. Given the eye-watering amount of British taxpayers’ money that is spent on paying the interest on our national debt, I am pleased that the Government have already reduced the annual structural deficit by half. Does he agree that it is vital to continue with the policy of reducing the annual structural deficit in order to tackle our national debt?
If we want wages to increase, which we do, we need to improve our education system, ensure that we have a welfare system that makes work pay, improve our infrastructure and have competitive tax systems. In brief, we need a long-term economic plan. That is what we have got with this Government, and it is not what we would have with the Labour party.
My hon. Friend will recognise that getting the deficit under control is vital if we want a strong economy. For all the posturing that we have seen today from the Labour party about the NHS, does he recognise that Greece, which had a smaller deficit to the one we had in this country when we came to power, had to cut spending on health services by 14%? Does he agree that only a strong economy can deliver a strong health service?