Last week, for the first time in 19 years a Conservative Chancellor delivered a true blue Conservative Budget. A budget aimed at creating society of higher employment, higher wages, lower tax -more security for working people.
Over the last 5 years in Coalition we’ve had to make the hard choices because of the debt and deficit the previous Labour Government left the country. To protect and preserve the United Kingdom, to ensure the future generation has the same, if not better, opportunities than our generation, hard decisions had to be followed through with decisive action to cut the deficit. We had to build a strong economy so that we could afford the best National Health Service, the best security forces at home and abroad and so we can ensure that each child grows up with good schools, great teachers and is able to reach their potential.
The last Government made a great start – I give credit to the Liberal Democrats who joined the Conservatives to enable us to start down the right path. Unfortunately, 5 years was not enough, and in this Parliament, more decisions and actions are needed to ensure we have no deficit and ensure the pot is not empty. We need borrowing to go down, we need to become a self-sufficient country and ensure we are saving up for when the sun doesn’t shine.
So how does what was announced affect you?
This Conservative budget was delivered with the mandate of the British who trusted us to finish the job. We are growing faster than any advanced economy. Business investment is up 31.9% and over 2 million more people now have the security of work.
Britain gets a pay-rise! After many years of wages stagnating, the Conservatives are giving Britain a pay-rise. Many of us have seen little, if none, increases to your salary. We are introducing a new National Living Wage which will be implemented by 2020. Starting in April 2016, the minimum wage will increase from £6.40 to £7.20 an hour and will reach £9 an hour by 2020. This will benefit the millions of people in work across the whole of the UK.
We are also increasing the Personal Allowance to £11,000 and the 40p rate to £43,000. This means each and every working person will be able to earn £11,000 before paying any tax (or higher earners can earn up to £43,000 before paying the 40p tax rate) – each and every person can keep more of their hard-earned money. The Conservatives believe it is right to reward those who work and want to get on in life. We also believe that the broadest shoulders in society should bear the greatest burden – and now the richest are paying a greater share of tax than in 2010.
The Government has also increased the threshold for inheritance tax meaning more families will be able to pass on their homes free from tax. If you have worked hard to provide for your family, it is only fair that you can then pass on your family home to them.
National Health Service
Hospitals, GPs and Doctors are the heart of every community. It is great to see the Conservative Government committing an extra £8 billion of funding by 2020 to the National Health Service. This £8 billion is in addition to the £2 billion already committed. The Government has made a pledge to ensure Britain has a strong 7-day NHS – and this is only possible with a strong economy. Many hospitals need funding to get more staff on the floor or to expand and have more beds – under this Conservative Government they will receive that funding.
Opportunities for education
To provide the best start in adult life for the next generation, we have introduced that those aged 18 to 21 will no longer be able to go straight onto benefits. They must earn or learn. This will encourage young adults to think about their life ahead instead of getting stuck on the benefits merry-go-round.
For those going to University, student maintenance loan is to be increased to £8,200 which is the highest amount ever provided. This will help make university life more affordable.
For those not wanting to take the University route, many companies are now offering apprenticeships and this is going to grow. The Government is introducing incentives to encourage more and more business to take on young adults as apprentices.
Working families with children
The Conservatives have always supported the working family. In this Conservative budget, free childcare for working parents of 3 and 4 year olds will be doubled to 30 hours a week.
Britain is home to 1% of the world’s population, generates 4% of the world’s economy and yet pays out 7% in welfare spending. This is not sustainable and means that future generation would have to pay for our welfare. So we have set out a package to save £12 billion from welfare which will enable us to better protect spending on public services – like limiting child tax credit to 2 children (which exceptions such as twins).
However, the most vulnerable in society will be protected. It is important to have a safety net there for those who need it – this includes increasing funding for victims of domestic abuse.
To support the businesses, Employment Allowance has been increase to 50%. This means a business can now employ 4 people full time on the National Living Wage and will contribute no National Insurance at all. Britain is the country of small businesses and to that extent, the Annual Investment Allowance for small and medium sized business will be raised to £200,000. This will benefit the small and medium business to grow and expand their businesses.
To shout that Britain is open for business, Corporation Tax has been cut to 18%, taking us to be the country with the lowest Corporation Tax in the G20.
In the same breath, the Chancellor made clear that we will not stand for tax avoidance. The Government is putting in place measure to ensure tax avoidance is clamped down on. We have also abolished the permanent non-dom tax status.
Northern Power House
I couldn’t possibly skip over this part of the budget. The Northern Powerhouse was mentioned at the start of the budget speech last week. It shows a clear commitment that this initiative is a high up on the agenda in the Budget and in the Government.
Many people commute to work – whether that’s on the trains or buses. It was great to hear the Chancellor announce £30 millions of funding for a project “Transport for the North.” This will help connect the North, including Yorkshire and the Humber, with a smart-card type transport scheme. This would be similar to the Oyster Card which is currently used on the London tube system. This would make traveling around the North quicker and easier – no more need to loose change or waiting in queues and missing trains!
For those who drive to and from work; Fuel Duty has been frozen again. A new Roads Fund has been introduced and will be used directly on our roads – to reduce and eliminate the amount of pot holes on our local roads.
We have committed to meeting the NATO pledge to spend 2% of the national income on defence. This budget will deliver security to Britain.
There were many more announcements and full details can be read in the Red Book here.
This was a great budget, with security, economic stability and support for hard working people at its very core. It was a budget aimed at creating society of higher employment, higher wages, lower tax -more security for working people.