Budget Response

There is a critical choice facing this country in 49 days’ time: stick with a plan that is delivering or return to the chaos of the past. This Budget signals a move towards the future for Britain taking us from austerity to prosperity. If you’re a saver, pensioner, mortgage payer, small business owner or a first-time buyer looking to get on the property ladder, this really is a budget for you.

Contrary to claims from the Labour Party, Britain is growing, we are creating jobs and steadily reducing the deficit. Despite weaker world and Eurozone growth, the Chancellor announced yesterday that the OBR have revised up our growth forecasts to 2.5% for this year, that borrowing is down with the UK expected to run a surplus of 0.3% in 2019/2020, and living standards are higher with the OBR forecasting that real household disposable income will be £900 higher in 2015, than 2010.

On top of this, employment is also at a record high – the highest rate since records began – and the lowest claimant rate since 1975, highlighting that we have made significant progress since 2010. Unemployment in Amber Valley fallen by 2.6% since 2010 and 0.9% in the last year.

This is all welcome news and highlights the progress made under this Government, however, we can only continue on the road to recovery if we continue to make progress, delivering savings, from welfare, government departments, tax avoidance, evasion and aggressive tax planning – all achievable under this Government with this Budget.

So under this Budget we’ve set out our economic plan for what you can expect from a Conservative Government after May.

We’ve increased the Personal Tax Allowance again, to £10,800 next year and £11,000 the year after, with a commitment to raising this to £12,500. Changes made to the Personal Allowance under this Government will make the typical tax payer £900 a year better off compared to 2010. During my time as your MP, I have campaigned for the Personal Allowance in Income Tax to be raised to £12,500 so that the National Minimum Wage can be earned before any tax is paid. This rise would save a further £300 a year.

This government has cut Income Tax for an estimated 36,053 people here in Amber Valley and taken 4,307 people out of tax altogether, taking pressure off household budgets and helping hard-working taxpayers be more financially secure.

The Chancellor also announced that savers will not pay tax on the first £1000 of their savings income (£500 if you’re a higher rate tax payer), meaning that most families will not pay any tax on their savings income. This measure will, in addition to pension reforms, provide real encouragement to save. No longer will most people pay tax on their income and then pay tax again if they save some money.

The Chancellor has once again cancelled Labour’s planned September fuel duty increase – delivering the longest duty freeze in 20 years. This will make local families around £10 better off every time they fill up. I know families are very concerned about the cost of living and this is a welcome move for my constituents, putting money back in the pockets of my constituents.

The Chancellor has also pledged to cut beer duty, cider duty, Scotch whisky duty, and to freeze wine duty. This is the third consecutive year that the Chancellor has cut beer duty, taking another penny off a pint. This means that an average pint of beer is 9p cheaper than under the previous Government’s duty plans. This move is great news for pubs here in Amber Valley protecting pubs and local jobs.

Following the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement late last year, I wrote to the Chancellor and asked him to include Blood Bikes in the VAT exemption he introduced for Air Ambulances. I am so pleased that Blood Bike charities will be refunded this VAT. Blood bike charities, like Derbyshire Blood Bikes based here in the constituency, are a vital asset to the NHS, transporting blood and vital medical equipment. I am so pleased that my campaign to have them included was successful and welcome this move.

The Chancellor also introduced a Help to Buy ISA which could help over 85,000 in the East Midlands to buy their first home in the next 5 years. Any amount paid into the ISA will be met with a 25% bonus of the amount saved to help with cost of their first home from the Government. So, for every £200 saved, the Government will give a bonus of £50, up to £3,000. This is fantastic news for my constituents looking to get on the housing ladder, and adds to the support already provided by the Government through Help-to-Buy, which has helped 175 of my constituents to buy their first home.

To support small businesses and the self-employed, this Government would also abolish the annual tax return, which is something I know as a former Tax Adviser to businesses, fills many small business and the self-employed with dread. This commitment means that millions of people will have their information automatically uploaded into new digital tax accounts, making the process much simpler. This Government will also abolish Class 2 National Insurance contributions for the self-employed – a massive simplification for over 5 million people. The Chancellor also pledged a review of business rates in the Budget 2015.

This Government would also support farmers by extending the average period over which self-employed farmers can average their profits for income tax purposes from 2 to 5 years, this will protect farmers from the volatility they often face. Over 2,400 farmers here in the East Midlands could benefit with an average individual gain of £950 a year.

This really is a budget to be proud of, helping people to get on and work, get on the property ladder, to save and to grow their businesses. The Budget 2015 sets out how the Chancellor will take us from austerity to prosperity if a Conservative Government is returned in May. I welcome this Budget and commend the Chancellor for these measures which truly reflect the progress made under this Government and our economic plans for a Conservative Government after the election.