The Chancellor delivered his Autumn Statement this afternoon, during which he set out great measures for workers, drivers, savers, business and home owners in Amber Valley, and not to mention further support for infrastructure and investment in the East Midlands more broadly.
There were some very welcome measures announced in today’s Autumn Statement and I have outlined below the measures which I believe will make a difference to the lives of Amber Valley residents. If you’d like to read the Chancellor’s 2016 Autumn Statement in full you can do so here.
Drivers – Fuel Duty Frozen
The Chancellor gave much needed support to motorists whose costs remain high, freezing fuel duty for the seventh successive year, saving drivers £130 a year on average. This represents saving drivers around £10 per tank.
Transport Infrastructure – Midlands Engine and Midlands Rail Hub
The Chancellor announced further funding to support motorists with the Midlands Engine strategy to follow shortly and announced funding for the evaluation study for the Midlands Rail hub, which will see transport infrastructure enhanced in the Midlands, improving the ability for motorists in the region to get to where they need to be.
Also the Government has committed £1.1 billion to reduce congestion and upgrade local roads and public transport as part of the National Productivity Investment Fund. This is in addition to the £1.8 billion from the Local Growth Fund to English regions.
In addition to the transport infrastructure the Chancellor announced over £102 million of LIBOR banking fines to support armed forces and emergency services charities, including funding the Queen’s Medical Centre helipad in Nottingham.
Support for Workers – £12,500 Personal Tax Allowance and National Minimum Wage increase
The Chancellor outlined the Government’s commitment to raise the Personal Allowance to £12,500.
The Personal Allowance is the amount of income you can earn before you start paying income tax. It is currently £11,000 this year, and will rise to £11,500 in 2017-18. Once the Personal Allowance reaches £12,500, it will increase in line with inflation.
From April 2017 the National Living Wage and the National Minimum Wage will increase. The National Living Wage for those aged 25 and over will increase from £7.20 per hour to £7.50 per hour. That means over £1,400 a year more for a full-time worker previously on the National Minimum Wage. To read more about the National Minimum Wage increase, see here.
Also £4.3 million will be spent on helping small businesses to understand the rules and cracking down on employers who are breaking the law by not paying the minimum wage
Universal Credit – taper reduced from 65% to 63%
From April 2017 The Universal Credit taper will be reduced from 65% to 63%. With Universal Credit, as a person’s income increases, their benefit payments are gradually reduced. The taper rate calculates the reduction in benefits as a person’s salary increases.
Currently, for every £1 earned after tax above an income threshold, a person receiving Universal Credit has their benefit award reduced by 65p and keeps 35p. They will now keep 37p for every £1, from April 2017.
Before the Autumn Statement I had urged the Government to relax the cuts and I’m pleased that three million households, including those in Amber Valley will benefit from this change.
For savers – A New NS&I Investment Bond
Available from spring 2017 to support savers, NS&I will offer a new three-year Investment Bond with an indicative rate of 2.2% from spring 2017. The bond will offer the flexibility to put away between £100 and £3,000 and be available to those aged 16 or over.
Housing – Putting an end to unfair tenant’s fees and Housing Infrastructure Fund
The Chancellor announced a ban on letting agents charging fees to renters. In the private rental market, letting agents are currently able to charge unregulated fees to tenants, often running to hundreds of pounds.
Letting agents will no longer be able to charge renters fees, for example when they sign a new tenancy agreement. This will stop tenants being hit with fees averaging £223 per tenancy.
The Government will also invest to unlock land for housing, with a new £2 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund to support 100,000 new homes, and an additional £1.4 billion to deliver 40,000 more affordable homes. That means that over the course of the Parliament, the Government expects to more than double annual capital spending on housing in real terms.
Internet users – Important Infrastructure Improvement
The Chancellor provided reassurance that the Government is committed to investing in full-fibre to help more UK homes and businesses get superfast broadband, proposing to invest a further £1 billion in our digital infrastructure.
Investment will support the private sector to roll out more full-fibre broadband by 2020-21. Funding will also support trials of 5G mobile communications.
The Chancellor announced support for British businesses with £400 million through the British Business Bank to invest in growing innovative firms. The funds will be invested in innovative small businesses with potential for growth, to provide the finance that they need to expand. This will support up to £1 billion of new investment.
Furthermore, Rural Rate Relief will increase to 100%. Rural rate relief will increase from 50 to 100% in April 2017, saving a business up to £2900 a year. This business rate relief is available to businesses in rural areas with a population under 3,000.