With the main focus of Wednesday’s Budget being the Chancellor’s large-scale investments in housebuilding, the NHS and schools, as well as vital reforms to business rates, there were a number of smaller – but no less important – announcements that did not receive as much attention.
Worcester MP Robin Walker has drawn attention to a number of these announcements, which include:
A new discount railcard for young people aged 26-30
The Government will work with the rail industry to extend the discount already available to young people aged 16-25 to all those up to and including the age of 30. This will be implemented from Spring 2018.
A freeze in Air Passenger Duty for 95% of holidaymakers
Short-haul rates for 2019-20 will remain frozen, as they have been since 2012, and the long-haul rate for economy class passengers will be frozen at 2018-19 rates – paid for with additional rates levied on private jets.
£35million to improve mobile connectivity and WiFi on trains
The Government is due to consult on options to improve mobile communications for rail passengers, installing trackside infrastructure and enabling a series of trials on trains nationwide.
£160million to expand the fastest 5G mobile networks across the UK
To enable the UK to become a world leader in the next generation of mobile communications, the Government will invest £160million via the National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF) to fund the infrastructure needed for superfast mobile internet, working in partnership with the National Cyber Security Centre.
Investing in flood defences
Over the next three years, an additional £76million will be spent on flood and coastal defence schemes, better protecting another 7,500 households at risk of flooding.
£4.7million to modernise Poppy Factories
To modernise facilities and ensure they remain fit for purpose well into the future, £4.7million is to be spent upgrading the factories that produce the Poppy, our iconic symbol of National Remembrance.
Banking fines to be used to support Veterans’ charities
The Chancellor has committed to using a further £36million in LIBOR banking fines to support Armed Forces and Emergency Services charities, bringing the total banking fine figure given to good causes since 2012 to £773million.
Commenting on these announcements, Robin said:
“It is often the case that a number of really important initiatives get buried slightly in the media hubbub following a Budget, and this year I wanted to draw attention to some of the Chancellor’s positive announcements that didn’t make the headlines.”
“The new discount railcard for under 30s should be a real help with living costs for young people, and the investment promised to improve mobile connectivity on the rail network will help in modernising train transport in Britain.”
“I will be keen to see if some of the investment in flood defences can be used to support communities in Worcestershire who are often at risk from flooding.”
“The freeze in Air Passenger Duty will help to keep holidays affordable for Worcester residents, and I know there will rightly be a lot of support for the Chancellor’s use of £36million in banking fines to support veterans’ and emergency services’ charities, including mental health support.”
Notes to editors
To read the Budget in full, please seehttps://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/autumn-budget-2017