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Budget: Economy

Improving living standards ‘being felt across the regions of the UK’

Scottish exportsBritain is growing, creating jobs and paying its way, and the improving standard of living is being felt across the nation, said the Chancellor.

George Osborne, responding to claims that the benefits of the recovery were focused in London and that jobs were low-paid and unskilled, he  said more jobs had been created in Yorkshire last year than the whole of France and that 80% of new jobs were full-time.

The economy will grow 2.5% this year, according to the Office for Budget Responsibility and by the same rate next year.

“We are replacing the disastrous economic model we inherited,” he told the Commons. The economy was growing 50% faster than Germany and seven times faster than France, though he warned that the implications of a Greek exit from the eurozone remained a major concern for Britain.

On jobs, he said Britain had the highest number of people in employment ever and more women in work than before. The claimant count was at its lowest since 1975. Unemployment wil fall to 5.3%. He said 1,000 jobs were being created every day.

The benefits were being felt across the UK, he said, with one job being created every 10 minutes in the Midlands and the fastest growth taking place in the north west of England.

Living standards, he said, will be higher in 2015 than when the coalition came to power in 2010. Households were £900 better off.

“Britain has the opportunity to overtake Germany as the biggest economy in Europe.”

Debt as a proportion of income will fall from 80.4% net year to 71.6% in 2019/20.

Paul Brewer, PwC Scotland head of government and public sector, said:  The Scottish Government will get £31m of new money from today’s Budget by way of the Barnett Formula and, while that might be less than hoped for, it will be welcome nonetheless.

“The Chancellor also emphasised the UK Government’s commitment to the devolution process in Scotland, and we would expect the draft legislation to be enacted in the forthcoming Finance Bill later this month.

“Many will also welcome the pledge to implement the Glasgow City Deal, and open negotiations on new city deals for Aberdeen and Inverness. “

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