Last year, public spending was 38.9% of GDP, which equates to about £28,500 per household. This is comparable with other leading countries.
Does the Minister agree that it is due to this Government’s responsible management of the public finances that we are able to spend more on education than Germany and Japan, and more on defence and policing than any other European country?
My hon. Friend is absolutely right. We spend more per student on education than Germany or Japan. Because of our management of the public finances, we have been able to push £1.3 billion more of education spending to the frontline, where it is going to make the most difference in classrooms.
Is the Chief Secretary concerned by speculation that the Bank of England will increase interest rates by 0.25% in November, which would have an adverse effect on public spending?
That is one of the reasons why we need to make sure that we are reducing our debt and reducing our deficit in order to reduce the interest payments that came as a result of the previous Labour Government leaving us with the highest deficit in history. We have an independent Bank of England, and it is very important that as a Government Minister I do not tell it what to do on interest rates.