New Year message from the Prime Minister

Looking back over 2015, we can be proud of what we have achieved. At the election, our manifesto set out how we would give people security at every stage of their life. By electing a majority Conservative government, the British people gave us an important responsibility to deliver on those commitments - and it is right that we should be held to account as we work through our plan:

  • For a strong economy: At the heart of everything we do is our long-term economic plan. This year we grew faster than any other G7 country, saw inflation fall to zero and cut the budget deficit so that next year it will be almost two thirds lower than the level we inherited. 
  • For the best start in life: We have improved on our commitment to maintain the amount of money that follows each child into school, pledging an annual schools budget of over £40 billion. As well as that, we want to deliver more places at good schools, so we have started opening the 500 new free schools we committed to, with 52 opening since May. 
  • For opportunity after school: We have lifted the cap on university places and started delivering the three million apprenticeships we promised. There are now more people with the security of a job than ever before - with the highest employment rate among young people in a decade, and 158,000 more people in work since the election. What is more, when people are earning we believe they should keep more of that money. So we put into law our commitment to not raise VAT, National Insurance or Income Tax for the next five years. On top of that, the amount people can earn before paying tax will go up to £11,000 next April, taking 570,000 out of Income Tax altogether. 
  • For security when raising a family: Our commitment for 30 hours of free childcare a week for the parents of 3 and 4 year olds will now start in some areas in 2016, rather than in 2017. To help more families have the security of owning their home, we have secured a deal to give housing association tenants the Right to Buy and doubled the housing budget. And the new National Living Wage will reward work and mean that, by April, no-one aged 25 or over will earn less than £7.20 an hour. 
  • For a strong NHS and dignity in later life: We committed to increase NHS funding and we are delivering the first £6 billion up front over this year and next. Overall we plan to spend an extra £19 billion in cash terms on the NHS by 2020/21. This will help deliver a genuine 7-day NHS, so it is there whenever people need it. And because we want to do right by pensioners, we are increasing the Basic State Pension to £119.30 a week - the biggest real-terms rise in 15 years. 
  • For a Britain standing tall in the world: We have committed to the NATO two per cent defence spending target with a rising defence budget, as well as protecting spending on the Police and counter-terrorism to help keep our country secure. At the same time, we are standing up for the world's poorest by meeting our commitment on development spending, and we have passed legislation through the Commons to deliver our In-Out referendum on Britain's future membership of the European Union. 

 

Of course, I am not saying we have done everything - we are only eight months into this term - but day-by-day, we've been holding firm to our pledges and paving the way for the brighter future people voted for. Over the next 4 years, that is exactly how we need to go on, and this January we are returning to Westminster with all the energy and drive needed to carry on with the important task we have been set: not just making good on our manifesto, but changing the way our country works for the better.