Over recent months we have seen the global economy enter turbulent times. Even though Britain is bucking the trend and growing faster than any other developed economy we are not immune to outside pressures that weakening economies place on our financial system.
Since coming into power in 2010 the Conservatives have held fiscal responsibility at the heart of Government by making the tough spending decisions now rather than placing the burden on our children. This means our economy is now one of the strongest placed for whatever the future holds for us. Our deficit is down by two thirds from what we inherited in 2010 from Gordon Brown (we are now only borrowing £1 in every £14 we spend rather than £1 in every £4) and projections show us moving to a surplus in 2019-2020.
The Budget delivered today is yet another example of how we are making those with the broadest shoulders bear the heaviest load. We are delivering on our commitment to prevent the super-rich from abusing Britain’s tax laws with the Chancellor announcing further tax avoidance and evasion measures which will generate an extra £11 billion for the exchequer over the life of this Parliament. The proof the wealthy are paying more is further represented by today’s announcement that Britain’s richest 1% are paying 28% of all the tax collected, more than in any previous Government and proof we are committed to reducing the UK’s inequality gap.
The announcement that the Business Rates threshold will be more than doubled from £6,000 to £15,000, means by April next year 600,000 businesses will not pay the rates at all. This is fantastic news for many South Derbyshire companies who will be able to use the money they save to invest in their businesses.
In 2010 Corporation Tax stood at 28%. This high level was preventing investment into Britain and hindering entrepreneurs from starting up new businesses. Today Mr Osborne announced it would be reduced to 17% by April 2020, this will help build on the ever increasing numbers of businesses in Britain and South Derbyshire. We already have the highest employment level on record but these two positive changes for British business will help create thousands more jobs. The Chancellor also announced big infrastructure investment plans for HS3 in the North of England and Crossrail 2. Both of these projects are good news for the Derbyshire rail supply chain and will ultimately create jobs and apprenticeships.
There was more good news for parents in the form of an extra £1.5 billion to convert all state Primary and Secondary Schools into academies and a fairer funding plan for all schools in England. We have already seen schools such as John Port in Etwall grow since taking control of their own destiny as an Academy and I cannot wait to see all of our local schools doing the same.
Working people were at the top of the agenda with Fuel duty continuing to be frozen, providing financial support for commuter families. There was more support for Beer and Cider drinkers as duty was frozen yet again. The Government has also continued its commitment to the lowest paid workers with the Tax Free personal allowance being increased to £11,500 by April 2017. This along with the Higher Rate 40p Tax increasing from £42,500 to £45,000, affecting high paid Nurses, Paramedics and Teachers, means thousands will pay deservedly less tax.
The 2016 Budget shows how the Government is determined to ensure Britain’s economy is strong enough to weather any storm and how we as the first solely Conservative Government in 18 years are investing in the next generation.
(This article was originally written for the Derby Telegraph).