In last summer’s budget speech, George Osborne set out his long-term vision of building a “higher-wage, lower tax, lower welfare economy” in the UK, promising to give Britain “a pay-rise” while also announcing major cuts to welfare spending.
It’s a theme that the Chancellor has returned to a number of times since last July – reiterating his promise to boost wages and cut welfare in his Party conference speech last October, and again in his first major speech about the economy this year. Indeed, the “high-wage, low-welfare economy” has replaced the “long-term economic plan” as the Government’s watchword on how it intends to reform the national economy.
However, a new report published recently by Centre for Cities reveals the complexity of achieving this ambition. The report, Cities Outlook 2016 examines how the Chancellor’s vision is currently playing out in cities across the country – offering some promising signs for the Government, but also highlighting serious obstacles to overcome if it is to succeed in boosting wages and reducing welfare spending over the next four years.
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