The Pre Budget Report, delivered today by Gordon Brown, is something to cheer loudly about. It celebrates the economic achievements of the Labour Government since 1997 and also looks forward with a vision of helping families and improving the skills of the British workforce.
The tough monetary decisions taken by Gordon Brown when he became chancellor now means that Britain has the
- lowest inflation for thirty years
- lowest mortgage rates for forty years
- longest period of sustained growth of 200 years
- fourth largest economy in the world, having just overtaken France
The challenge now is to equip the economy for the demands of the global marketplace and provide even better public services for future generations. There is something for everyone in this report, but these items caught my eye:
- A ten year strategy for childcare with a vision of high-quality childcare for all parents who need it
- Paid maternity leave increased from six to nine months
- An extra £50 on the winter fuel allowance for the over-70s
- An extra billion pounds for councils, to keep down the rate of council tax increases - I'm really pleased about this one as council tax is a big issue on the doorstep.
A very positive message of a strong economy and aspirations to improve the lives of hard working families.