§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Harold Walker)
Before I call the Chancellor of the Exchequer, it may be for the convenience of hon. Members if I remind them that at the end of the Chancellor's speech, as in past years, copies of the Budget resolutions will not be handed around in the Chamber but will be available to hon. Members in the Vote Office.
§ The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Nigel Lawson)
In last year's Budget statement I charted the course for this Parliament. Today I reaffirm the Government's determination to hold to that course, the purpose of which is nothing less than the defeat of inflation. We have not wavered from that purpose. Nor will we, but the defeat of inflation, essential though it is, is not enough. We must also do what we can to combat the scourge of unemployment. Nor is there any conflict between these two objectives. So my Budget today has two themes: to continue the drive against inflation and to help create the conditions for more jobs.
I shall begin by reviewing the economic background to the Budget. I shall then deal with the medium-term financial strategy, with monetary policy, and with the fiscal prospect, both this year and next. I shall then turn to the Government's strategy for jobs, and the measures to implement that strategy. These will involve action on a number of fronts, including both tax reduction and tax reform.
As usual, a number of press releases filling out the details of my tax proposals will be available from the Vote Office as soon as I have sat down.