Robin Walker, MP for Worcester, was in the Chamber this afternoon to hear the Chancellor Phillip Hammond MP give his first Autumn Statement which set out clear plans for investment and public spending, continuing the task of bringing down the deficit and getting the country back to living within its means. The Chancellor also responded to OBR growth forecasts that show the UK growing faster than any other G7 country this year, growth continuing in each of the next four years and employment continuing to grow over each of the next four years but a challenging outlook for tax receipts and Government borrowing.
The Chancellor set out a major drive to boost UK productivity through incentivising R&D investment by at least £2 billion per year by the end of the Parliament and a significant step up in the Government’s commitment to infrastructure including roads, rail and broadband.
There are numerous measures which will benefit Worcester’s residents and Robin has outlined some of the details below.
One of Robin’s long running campaigns to secure funding for the full dualling of the Southern Link Road is yet to be confirmed, but he is hopeful that the £1.8 billion to LEPs through Local Grorth Funding across England, targeted funding for infrastructure projects that can unlock housing growth and a total of £23 billion being invested in crucial infrastructure over the spending review period, announced today will help to address this, and Robin will be watching closely over the coming months as the details for individual LEPs and the Transport Department are announced.
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.
The National Minimum Wage will also increase:
- for 21 to 24 year olds – from £6.95 per hour to £7.05
- for 18 to 20 year olds – from £5.55 per hour to £5.60
- for 16 to 17 year olds – from £4.00 per hour to £4.05
- for apprentices – from £3.40 per hour to £3.50
The Chancellor has also confirmed funding for 40,000 new homes and announced a large-scale pilot to give the right to buy to housing association tenants. The Government will focus infrastructure investment to unlock land for housing with a new £2.3billion Housing Infrastructure Fund to deliver infrastructure for up to 100,000 new homes in areas of high demand. To provide affordable housing that supports a wide range of need, the Government will invest a further £1.4billion to deliver 40,000 additional affordable homes. Affordable housing has long been a key area of concern for Robin.
Worcester residents will also be reassured that the personal allowance limit will increase and will rise to £11,500 in 2017-18, meaning people can keep more of their hard earned wages. In addition, fuel duty will remain frozen for the seventh consecutive year meaning Worcester drivers will save on average £130 a year. Freezing fuel duty has been another of the Worcester MP’s longest running campaigns. On Universal Credit, where a number of constituents had raised concerns with the MP in recent weeks, the Chancellor has announced a more generous taper rate which will help to make sure that work always pays.
Finally, the government remains committed to tackling tax evasion, avoidance and aggressive tax planning, and the Chancellor announced that the UK tax gap is now one of the lowest in the world but he also announced further plans to remove tax loopholes and make sure multi-national companies pay a fair share of tax.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Phillip Hammond concluded his statement by saying:
“The announcements I have made today lower taxes on working people, boost wages, back savers, and bear down on bills.”
“This Autumn Statement responds to the challenge of building on [the UK’s] strength, while also heeding the warnings in the OBR’s figures, as we begin writing this new chapter in our country’s history.”
“It re-states our commitment to living within our means and it sets out our choice to invest in our future. It sends a clear message to the world that Britain is open for business and it provides help to those who need it now.”
“I was pleased to see the Chancellor’s focus on steady finances and on providing reassurance for companies who want to invest in R&D and raise productivity. This wasn’t a big political Autumn Statement and it is a welcome step that the Chancellor has announced a return to the traditional approach of having one major financial statement each year instead of two. Within a relatively stable and calm autumn statement I was pleased to see many of my long term priorities such as raising wages, reducing the burden of taxation on the low paid and building affordable homes reflected. It is also right that we should continue the vital work of closing the tax gap and clamping down on evasion. It was also really good to see the focus on infrastructure investment which I hope we will see having a direct impact in Worcestershire in the near future.”
Notes to Editors:
To read the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement speech in full: https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/autumn-statement-2016-philip-hammonds-speech
For full details of the Autumn Statement:
For a summary of the key Autumn Statement measures: