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Westminster Diary by Harriett Baldwin MP - Budget


26th November 2018

When I was first elected eight years ago, the public finances were in serious trouble. The deficit was the largest in peacetime history and many were unemployed, especially young people. Those young people deserved better and for their sake we could not put off the difficult decisions on tax and spending that have helped to bring the budget back into balance, while giving businesses the support they needed to create over 3 million jobs. Youth unemployment has halved.

After eight years of taking tough decisions to bring the budget back into balance, the budget felt like a turning point, with record employment and higher earnings, particularly for the low paid, giving the Chancellor room to increase public spending significantly.

There was a big 70th birthday present for our NHS with an extra £20.5 billion each year and an additional £1.7 billion to create even stronger work incentives for the new, more flexible Universal Credit.

A manifesto commitment to lift the personal tax allowance to £12,500 for every tax payer will now happen next year – one year ahead of schedule. People on the National Living Wage will see their wages rise by nearly five per cent.

The Chancellor announced a cut in business rates and local drivers will see fuel duty frozen for the ninth year in a row.. There is also a £675 million fund to help local councils to transform their high streets.

The Budget saw £2 billion per year for mental health, £400 million for schools, £1 billion more for defence and £160 million more for counter terror police. Social care will get £650 million of extra cash on top of the help already announced.

There was one extra bit of news for our local brewers - beer and cider duty has been frozen again.

The message is clear: the hard work of Worcestershire people is paying off and a solid economic recovery means austerity is coming to an end but we’ll be continuing to take a balanced approach to get the debt down and delivering higher living standards as our economy grows.



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