§ Mr. Murphy
asked the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will list the main policy achievements of his Department and the Paymaster General's office since May 1979.
§ Mr. Lawson
My predecessor described the Government's economic achievements since 1979 in answer to a similar question in April 1983, in column 286, and the Paymaster General's office was also discussed in an answer published then, in column317
The Government have maintained, within the framework of the MTFS, policies necessary to secure a further reduction in inflation and to create the conditions for sustainable growth. Inflation last year was the lowest for 16 years, and output grew last year at 3 per cent., the highest in the European Community.
The Budget contained proposals to abolish the national insurance surcharge and the investment income surcharge, for real increases in the basic income tax thresholds, and for a programme of tax reforms designed to remove distortions and improve the system of company taxation.438W
The programme for returning public sector enterprises to the private sector has been maintained.
A further reduction in the size of the Civil Service has been achieved. Staff numbers in my own departments have been reduced by some 4 per cent. since last April and staff employed employed in the Paymaster General's Office have fallen by some 3 per cent.
Against this background the United Kingdom is well placed to take advantage of growth in the world economy. A further fall in inflation is forecast during 1984, and output is expected to grow by 3 per cent.