17 November 2022
Harriett Baldwin backs Government efforts to help economically inactive back into work

Following the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Autumn Statement, Harriett Baldwin welcomes the accompanying Office for Budget Responsibility forecast and the support for the Bank of England’s efforts to bring down inflation, and asks the Chancellor for more details on incentives to help those in the welfare system back into work.

Harriett Baldwin (West Worcestershire) (Con)

It is good to see the return of the forecast from the official Office for Budget Responsibility. We all remember why a Conservative Government had to set it up. We will have the OBR in front of our Committee next Tuesday, when we can question the underlying assumptions of the forecast.

I welcome the fact that the Chancellor confirmed today that his announcements go with the grain of what the Bank of England is trying to do in bringing down inflation. That surely is the most important economic challenge for our country at the moment. But can he elaborate a bit more on his thinking? He has tasked the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions with helping back into work those who have left the workforce and he has announced welcome support for those on the welfare system of £900 next year. Can he talk us through his thinking on some of those cliff edges and incentives to work?

The Chancellor of the Exchequer (Jeremy Hunt)

I welcome my hon. Friend to her chairmanship of the Select Committee; I know she will do a brilliant job. She makes an important point. It is essential that we work hand in glove with the Bank of England to bring down inflation. Today, the OBR confirmed that inflation is lower because of the decisions we take. She is right to focus on the worrying increase in the economically inactive, which is not just causing supply chain problems for businesses, but driving inflation. That is why we are lucky to have an excellent Work and Pensions Secretary who will make this his top priority in the work he is doing for the Prime Minister and who will bring his conclusions to this House as soon as possible.