§ Mr. Deputy Speaker (Mr. Michael Morris)
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, copies of the Budget resolutions will be available to hon. Members in the Vote Office.
§ The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Mr. Norman Lamont)
In my Budget last year, I announced a far-reaching reform that was supported, I believe, on all sides of the House. From November this year, public expenditure and taxation will be brought together in one annual Budget statement.
The advantages of the new system are clear. Ensuring that tax and spending decisions are taken at the same time will allow better control over Government borrowing. Indeed, that is the main purpose of the change. With tax, spending and borrowing decisions presented in a single statement, the relationship between them will be much easier to understand. However, for now, our existing, and, to me, rather antiquated, procedures remain in place. I shall therefore concentrate today largely on the tax side of the accounts. My Budget should nonetheless be considered alongside the autumn statement that I delivered just four months ago.
In that statement, I set a firm limit on public sector wage increases. This was essential and we shall stick to it. And I established tight overall spending ceilings for the next three years. But I also gave priority to programmes that would help to promote growth and the long-term performance of the economy. In this way, the autumn statement played a key role in putting Britain on course for recovery.
My Budget today is designed to ensure that this recovery will be sustained. Above all, this Budget has two objectives: first, to support the recovery in the year ahead; and secondly, to set out a clear medium-term strategy for bringing the borrowing requirement back towards balance. The "Financial Statement and Budget Report," with a number of press releases filling out the details of my proposals, will be available from the Vote Office as soon as I have sat down.