South Shropshire MP Philip Dunne said today’s Budget from the Chancellor of the Exchequer addresses the challenges faced by working families and ensures a stable economy fit for the future.
The Chancellor, Philip Hammond, announced government support for developing skills for young people, supporting the NHS and elderly, and driving economic growth. He also reported that UK growth had been revised up since November, and borrowing would be £16.4 billion lower than forecast in the autumn, according to the Office for Budget Responsibility.
Next month the national living wage will increase to £7.50 an hour – a £500 pay rise a year for a full time worker – while the tax free personal allowance will rise for the seventh year in a row to £11,500, representing a tax cut for 29 million people.
The Chancellor outlined further support for business, with a £435m package for businesses coming out of Small Business Rate Relief, capping business rate increases at £50 per month in 2017-18. Local Authorities will receive £300m to target hard individual business rates cases. There was also specific help for pubs with a Rateable Value of under £100,000 – 90 per cent of all pubs –securing a £1,000 discount on their 2017 Business Rates bill.
Mr Dunne said: “This was a measured Budget from the Chancellor, which addressed some important issues affecting people in South Shropshire, while also responsibly outlining the way in which our economy will be prepared for the future. This is an important balance, as we look to face down any uncertainty created by leaving the European Union.
I welcome the additional £2bn for social care over the next three years, and a further £100m for new triage projects at A&Es in English hospitals, to prepare for next winter. This will help alleviate acknowledged pressures in the system.
It was good to see the Chancellor respond to issues raised by me and others to offer additional measures to reduce the impact of the business rates review, of particular concern to businesses in South Shropshire, including pubs. I will be pushing for Local Authority funding allocated to Shropshire Council to be used to help alleviate areas like Ludlow, which have seen steeper revaluations than elsewhere locally.
The Chancellor also showed the Midlands is a key part of the Government’s plan for growth, and a Midlands Engine Strategy, addressing productivity barriers across the Midlands, will be published tomorrow. Investment providing young people with respected technical qualifications, and another freeze in fuel duty, are also welcome steps for people in Shropshire.
Rising wages, with stronger economic growth and declining borrowing and debt, is good news for families in South Shropshire and leaves our country in strong position for the future.”
Plans were also announced for post-16 education reforms, introducing T-Levels to provide rigorous technical education and achieve parity of esteem with A-Level equivalents. Funding will increase the number of training hours for 16-19 year old further education students by over 50 per cent, with 15 new technical routes and a high-quality work placement for every student.