Robin Walker, MP for Worcester, has welcomed the Chancellor’s Spring Budget 2017 as an endorsement of the Government’s commitment to delivering a strong and resilient economy, and highlighted continued support for local businesses.
In his first Spring Budget, Chancellor of the Exchequer Phillip Hammond welcomed the revised forecast from the Office of Budget Responsibility (OBR) that the UK economy is expected to grow by 2% this year. Alongside this, latest OBR forecasts indicate that real wages are forecast to rise in every year to 2020-21 and the deficit is forecast to fall to 2.6 per cent of GDP in 2016-17, and to 0.7 per cent in 2020-21 – the lowest in over two decades.
Robin was particularly encouraged that the Chancellor has clearly listened to the concerns raised by businesses about the effects of the business rates revaluation. Having met before the Budget with local pub The Plough in Fish Street, Robin was particularly glad to hear of the additional business rate discount for small and medium sized pubs. The Government had already committed to a £6.7 billion package to cut business rates, and £3.6 billion in transitional relief, but in addition to this it was announced that:
- The Government will provide a further £435 million relief package, meaning businesses coming out of Small Business Relief will have their increases capped at £50 per month in 2017-18;
- All pubs with a Rateable Value of under £100,000 – 90 per cent of all pubs – will see a £1,000 discount on their 2017 Business Rates bill;
- Local authorities such as Worcester will receive a further £300 million to target individual hard cases in their areas.
The Chancellor also unveiled a range of measures to boost productivity and ensure that the UK economy is match-fit for the future, announcing £270 million to ensure that Britain remains at the forefront of technological advancement, supporting cutting-edge research in Artificial Intelligence and robotic systems, battery technology and electric vehicles, and by allocating £290 million to support new PhD places, focused on STEM subjects. This comes in addition to record investment in technical education – ensuring our children gain the technical skills they need to succeed in the world of work, and giving businesses the edge they need to compete in a new, global Britain.
Commenting on the Spring Budget announcements, Robin said:
“These announcements reflect the Government’s commitment to a strong economy, laying the foundations of a stronger, fairer, more highly-skilled global Britain outside the EU – a country that works for everyone.”
“The Budget also sends out a clear signal to the world that Britain is open for business – in the last year of the last Labour government, Corporation Tax was 28 per cent. Today it is 20 per cent, and it will fall to 17 per cent by 2020.”
“I know that many businesses in Worcester will welcome the additional Small Business Rate relief, and local pubs will be encouraged by the £1000 discount offered in the Budget. I recently met with the Plough pub to discuss their concerns about the impact of the upcoming revaluations, and I am confident that the changes announced will make a real difference to businesses like them. The Chancellor has listened to the concerns of small business owners and landlords, and these announcements reflect that.”
“The forecasts announced by the OBR demonstrate that this Government continues to put financial responsibility at the heart of our long term economic plan. Labour left us with the biggest budget deficit in peacetime history – and 2.5 million people unemployed. Now, this Budget makes progress towards eliminating the deficit, as employment stands at the highest rate since records began.”
“The Chancellor’s investment in innovation will further ensure we can compete with the best, seize the opportunities that lie ahead and create the high-paid, high-skilled jobs of the future.“
Notes to editors
To read the Spring Budget 2017 in full, please see: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/spring-budget-2017-documents
To read the Chancellor’s Budget speech in full, please see: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/spring-budget-2017-philip-hammonds-speech
For Robin’s previous statements in support of local businesses, see: