Having brought about economic recovery, our task now is to secure it and spread the benefits – to build an accompanying social recovery where every person, every family and every community feels the benefits of renewed prosperity. We’ll do it in the same way that we brought the country back from the brink of ruin. By setting out a sensible, sustainable plan and implementing it.
In the Spring Statement, we set out our plan to reduce the deficit to zero in this Government’s second term. We’ll balance the books. That will allow us deliver the next phase of our new deal for workers, families, and pensioners.
We’ll continue to reform the tax system in a fair and progressive manner so that low and middle-income earners take home more pay. We’ll reform our apprenticeship system so that young people have the chance to up-skill and build good careers. We’ll deliver tens of thousands of new affordable homes through the Construction 2020 strategy. We’ll pump in a record €4 billion to provide 35,000 social houses by 2020. We’ll support more families back into employment through the Back to Work Family Dividend. We’ll raise Child Benefit again in the forthcoming Budget. We’ll set out the steps by the end of this year to introduce two weeks’ paid paternity leave. For pensioners, we’ll continue the Christmas Bonus and safeguard the Free Travel Pass.
Every step of the way, we’ll guard the public purse and ensure no return to crisis. We’ll watch the books, balance the books – and write a new book. A book of opportunity and prosperity for all our people.