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Prosperity Knocks

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"Prosperity, that errant daughter who went astray, is on our threshold. She has raised her hand to the knocker on the door. What shall we do? Shall we let her in? Or shall we drive her away?"

So said Winston Churchill in 1926, speaking about Britain's recovery after the First World War. That recovery was tragically short-lived: It ended when the Great Depression began just three years later.

Today, prosperity once again waits on our doorstep. But this time we are following a plan we believe will secure Britain's recovery for the long term.

Last week, the Chancellor of the Exchequer -- the British equivalent of the Treasury Secretary -- gave his Autumn Statement on the economy. There is still a long way to go, of course. But the Chancellor had some encouraging news to report.

The independent Office of Budget Responsibility has more than doubled its forecast for the UK's 2013 growth, just as the OECD did earlier in the year. Both bodies have also significantly increased their forecasts for 2014. Among major advanced economies, in the third quarter of this year only the United States grew faster.

Employment is at an all-time high, thanks to the 1.4 million jobs British companies have created over the past three and a half years. Britain's payrolls continue to rise by around 60,000 every month -- the equivalent of the US adding roughly 300,000 jobs a month.

The government's finances, too, are in better shape. Next year, the UK's deficit will be half what it was in 2010. It will become a surplus within the next six years.

This is excellent news, not just for Brits but for anyone who wants to do business in the UK. Take the global car industry, for example. Ford now makes a third of all its engines in the UK. Nissan employs 6,500 people at its plant in Sunderland. BMW builds its Minis in Oxford, and exports eight in ten of them.

But our job is not yet done. Growth is not as strong as we want it to be. Investment and exports are too low. To take on these issues, we need to keep bearing down on the deficit and making life easier for businesses -- both those already in the UK and international firms that want to invest. We have a number of plans to achieve this.

From April next year, our main rate of tax on company profits will be the lowest of any major economy. We are investing billions in our infrastructure, from high-speed rail to ultra-fast broadband. Last week the Chancellor doubled, to around $82 billion, the government's support for companies exporting to fast-growing emerging markets.

Prosperity is once again knocking at Britain's door. By sticking to our economic plan, we are inviting her in to stay.