The UK economy is stronger than it was five years ago – more than two million jobs have been created in the UK since 2010. This growth is set to continue: the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecasts GDP growth of 2.4 per cent in 2015 and 2.3 per cent in 2016. To ensure this growth can be sustained, the chancellor emphasised that if Britain wants to produce more, the country also needs to invest more.
Britain is “open for business”
The Budget contained several measures to help domestic growth and expenditure – for example, 3 million new apprenticeships will be created by 2020. The chancellor stressed that by offering apprenticeships, “businesses can get back more than they put in.” A new National Living Wage was also introduced – £7.20 an hour for over 25s from April 2016, rising to over £9 an hour by 2020.
The Budget also set out a clear emphasis on “regional rebalancing”, with continued investment in the Northern Powerhouse, further commitments to improve Britain’s roads, and plans to develop the Midlands into an “engine for growth”.
Investment in export is still crucial
Osborne explained that the British government is taking clear steps to drive the country’s global growth: “Our decision to become a founder member of the new Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank is driven by our determination to connect Britain to the fastest growing parts of the world.”
The Budget also highlights that the EU must be open to international trade by negotiating further Free Trade Agreements with developed economies such as the US and Japan, and establish new trading relationships with Asia and South America.
Ultimately, the 2015 Summer Budget demonstrates that the British government is committed to investing in Britain’s growth – but businesses have to be proactive when it comes to seizing international trade opportunities.