It’s a New Year and there’s a lot that is new in our country today: two million new private sector jobs created since 2010; a new spirit in our classrooms with over one million more children learning in schools that are good or outstanding; for over 24 million hard-working people, there’ve been new tax cuts and for three million of the lowest paid, no income tax whatsoever. There are tens of thousands of new homeowners, thanks to our Help to Buy scheme; new security for those retiring after a life of work, with the state pension increased by ￡800 so far and by ￡950 next year. And the world is looking at Britain in a new way, with our economy growing faster than any other major developed nation.
None of this happened out of thin air. It’s because we put in place a long-term plan with some clear values at its heart. Ours must be a country where if you put in, you will get out; where if you want to work, there are decent jobs; where if you put the hours in, you keep more of your own money; where if you’re raising your children the best you can, you can expect they’ll get a proper education; and where if you’re willing to save, you can buy a home of your own; and of course where when you retire, you will have dignity and security in old age.
Our long-term plan is working. Our country is being turned around. But let us be clear: With this New Year comes new challenges. The global economy remains uncertain, and many countries continue to struggle.
And against that backdrop, Britain has a choice: between the competence that has got us this far or the chaos of giving it up, going backwards and taking huge risks.
So I say this should be our resolution: to stick to the plan, stay on course to prosperity, and keep doing the important, long-term work of securing a better future.
2015 can promise to be a great year for our country – if we make the right choices together.
And for now, I’d like to wish you, your family and your friends a very Happy New Year.