Derby Telegraph Column

As published in the Derby Telegraph, 11th April 2014

We’ve seen encouraging news on the economy over recent weeks, when in late March the Chancellor delivered his 2014 Budget, in which he confirmed that that the economy grew by 1.9% last year. Forecasts are now on the up, too – the IMF confirmed this week that it expects the economy to grow by 2.9% this year and predicts further strong growth.

During the Budget, the Chancellor announced that the deficit is down by a third, and will be halved by next year. A falling deficit means that we’ve saved £2,000 per year per family on what would have been debt interest payments to creditors. The hard decisions we’re taking have seen mortgage interest rates and interest rates for businesses remain low.

It is only by sticking to this plan that we can ensure growth, stability and jobs for people here in Amber Valley.

The Chancellor announced plans to help good exporting and manufacturing businesses here in Amber Valley, including capping the Carbon Price Support rates, saving mid-sized manufacturers £50,000 and the average family £15. We also doubled the lending to exporting businesses to £3bn, and doubled the annual investment allowance. All these changes will help create more jobs in my constituency.

The difficult decisions we’ve taken have allowed us to take steps to help small businesses create jobs, and to reward people who do the right thing.

As of Sunday, the amount which you can earn before you start to pay any tax on your earnings is now £10,000 – that’s a saving of £700 per year for 33,000 of my constituents, and 3,000 taken out of the tax altogether.

But as I’ve written in these columns before, I believe we should go further on letting hard-working people keep more of their own money, and I think we should link the Personal Allowance to the Minimum Wage level – to help me achieve this, you can sign my petition at www.12ktaxfree.co.uk. I was therefore particularly pleased that the Chancellor announced that the allowance will increase to £10,500 next April, saving an additional £100 for basic rate taxpayers and taking more out of the tax.

Once again, we cancelled Labour’s planned fuel duty rise, which means that by September, petrol per litre will be 20p cheaper than it would have been under their plans. We also took a penny off the pint of beer and froze wine, cider and spirits duty.

We also recently announced that the National Minimum Wage would increase to £6.50 from October, which is a real-terms increase of 3%, above the 1.9% rate of inflation. That’s great news for low-paid people in my constituency.

Combined together, income tax cuts, other tax changes, alongside real wage growth that we expect to see will have a positive impact on hard-working people’s take-home pay.

On Friday 28th March, I held my second Amber Valley Jobs Fair in Ripley, which attracted over one-thousand constituents looking for opportunities with over forty stallholders. I’m pleased to say that over a hundred constituents found work or training opportunities as a result of the day. I am looking forward to holding another event in due course.