Following Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond’s Budget, local MP Robin Walker praised a series of measures that will build an economy fit for the future and help hard-working Worcester families keep more of what they earn.

Robin was in the Chamber as the Chancellor set out the Government’s long-term vision for the economy – giving the next generation more opportunities and driving innovation that will see the UK becoming a world leader in new and emerging technologies, creating better paid and highly skilled jobs.

As part of the Government’s plan to boost the nation’s productivity, an additional £8billion in funding will be allocated to the National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF) – which last month provided over £3million to combat traffic congestion in Worcester city centre – to support connectivity, provide the largest boost in Research and Development (R&D) funding in 40 years, develop the world’s most advanced regulatory framework for driverless cars, and create a new partnership between industry and trade unions to deliver a National Retraining Scheme giving people greater flexibility in upskilling and changing careers.

Worcester workers will now be able to keep more of what they earn with the income tax personal allowance due to rise to £11,850 from April 2018, from the current £11,500 – making the typical basic rate taxpayer £1,075 a year better off compared to 2010. The higher rate threshold will also rise from £45,000 to £46,500. These increases mean the Government is continuing to deliver on its commitment to raise the thresholds to £12,500 and £50,000 respectively by 2020. Once this has been achieved, it will mean an increase in the Personal Allowance of over 90 per cent in the space of a decade.

In other cost-of-living measures announced in the Budget, fuel duty has been frozen for an eighth successive year, saving the average driver £160 a year. The average car driver will have saved £850, and the average van driver over £2,100, compared to Labour’s escalator plans. The duty rates for beer, wine, cider and spirits will also all be frozen.

Finally, from April 2018, the National Living Wage will rise 4.4 per cent from £7.50 an hour to £7.83. This rise will be equivalent to a pay rise of £600 per year for a full-time worker on the National Living Wage. This follows the news last year that average hourly pay in Worcester overtook the national average for the first time. The Budget also announced a £1.5 billion package to address concerns about the delivery of Universal Credit. From February 2018, the Government will remove the seven-day waiting period so that entitlement to Universal Credit starts on the first day of application.

Commenting after the Budget, Robin said:

“This is a budget that has clear long-term aims to make Britain’s economy fit for the future, and the investments in R&D, emerging tech, and skills retraining will be vital in ensuring that the UK continues to be a world leader in these fields.”

“At the same time, the tax-free allowance and the threshold for paying the higher rate of income tax have risen again and minimum wages for all age bands, as well as the National Living Wage, have all been raised above inflation. These policies will have a really tangible and positive effect on the lives of hard-working families in Worcester.”

“The rise in the National Living Wage, in particular, will mean the policy has delivered a pay rise of £2,000 for the lowest paid since its introduction in April 2016. Combined with the rise in the income tax threshold this means that someone working full-time on the NLW is now keeping £3,800 more in pay per year than in 2010. I have long campaigned for the promotion of a lower tax, higher wage economy and the measures announced here demonstrate just how much of a difference this can make to working people.”

“Many constituents have raised with me their wish for the freeze on fuel duty to be maintained and I am very glad that the Chancellor has done so for the 8th year in a row, granting a saving of £160 a year for the average Worcester driver.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

For full details of the Budget, please see https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/autumn-budget-2017

For details of the £3.2million NPIF funding for Worcester’s roads, please see: https://www.walker4worcester.com/robin-walker-welcomes-3-2million-funding-to-combat-city-centre-congestion/

For Robin’s previous statements on the Living Wage, see:

https://www.walker4worcester.com/walker-welcomes-continued-fall-in-local-unemployment-as-living-wage-contributes-to-decline-of-low-pay/

https://www.walker4worcester.com/walker-welcomes-spring-pay-rise-for-worcester-workers-as-conservative-government-raises-national-living-wage/

https://www.walker4worcester.com/conservatives-give-big-boost-to-the-lowest-paid-in-worcester-as-national-living-wage-begins/

For Robin’s previous statements on the Income Tax Personal Allowance, see:

https://www.walker4worcester.com/walker-welcomes-new-income-boost-for-ordinary-working-families-in-worcester/

https://www.walker4worcester.com/walker-welcomes-income-tax-cut-for-more-than-45000-in-worcester/

https://www.walker4worcester.com/gallery-item/raising-wages-and-cutting-tax-is-better-than-complex-and-expensive-redistribution/