When the Conservatives came to power in 2010 (with the Lib Dems), government spending took up 45% of national income. According to Chancellor George Osborne, it now takes under 40% and is forecast to reach 36.5% by the end of the Spending Review.

Spending less does not mean poorer services, he told Parliament, far from it. He then explained how he would square this tricky circle. Here’s a summary of his Autumn Statement.

Apprenticeships

The apprenticeship levy is to be set at 0.5% of employers' pay bill. This should raise £3 billion a year. There will however be a £15,000 allowance, so "98% of employers" will not pay.

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