Worcester MP Robin Walker has strongly welcomed measures announced by Chancellor Rishi Sunak in yesterday’s Budget that will ease pressures on the cost of living and put more money back in people’s pockets.

Increasing the National Insurance Contribution (NIC) thresholds from £8,632 to £9,500, saving a typical employee around £104 a year from April. This will result in cutting taxes for 2.6 million people in the West Midlands this year, helping people to keep more of their own money – and lifting 86,000 people out of paying Class 1 and Class 4 NICs altogether.

The National Living Wage will increase from £8.21 to £8.72. Robin is pleased that there are 190,000 people in the West Midlands having a pay rise in 2020 thanks to the increase to the National Living Wage, helping to boost the pay of the lowest paid.

Cutting taxes for working families by raising the income tax threshold has always been important to Robin and as a back-bencher Robin spoke often of raising the threshold up to the level of someone working full-time on the minimum wage. This has now been achieved and the rising level of the minimum wage means that it is more valuable than ever.

Speaking in the House as far back as 2015, Robin said ‘the biggest change we can make to help people with the cost of living is to ensure they are paid better and keep more of what they earn by delivering a national living wage. I welcome the fact that not only is this key social reform being delivered by a Conservative Government, but that the Government is taking steps to help to ensure that businesses, particularly small ones, have the help they need to deliver it.’ He was referring to the introduction of an employment allowance, which at the time meant businesses received a rebate of the first £2,000 on their employer’s national insurance, this has now been doubled to £4,000.

The freeze in duty rates for beer, cider and spirits was warmly welcomed by Robin who has campaigned for many years in support of pubs and has even hosted some of his MP surgeries in pubs. Robin has consistently supported keeping local pubs open in Worcester and was named a Parliamentary Pub Champion for 2019 by the British Beer & Pub Association.

The continued freeze on fuel duty for another year is a sensible measure which will help those people and small businesses which are reliant on vehicles. While a move to greener modes of transport is an important longer-term goal, now was not the time to hike tax on hard-working entrepreneurs who have no choice but to drive for their business to function or on people from rural areas who have to drive to access city centres such as Worcester.

Now that the Government has delivered in its commitment to leave the EU, Robin is pleased that the Government will use the added flexibility it has on VAT to reduce the cost of essential sanitary products for women in the UK, abolishing the tampon tax from 1 January 2021.

Speaking after the budget, Robin said:

“Everyone who works and pays tax in Worcester will benefit from the changes announced today. Whilst the need to invest in infrastructure and our NHS means it isn’t the time for big tax cuts, the decision to raise the threshold on National insurance should be a welcome boost and will benefit the lowest paid the most. The corresponding rise in the employment allowance for businesses will help to sustain record high employment and rising wages.”

“Combined with an increase in the National Living wage and the increase we have already made to the national income tax threshold this will mean that someone working full time on the national minimum wage is £5,200 better off compared to 2010.”

“This is a real seismic shift in making sure work pays and the decision to freeze duties on fuel and alcohol should help to make sure inflation stays low and this money goes further. This is a budget to help with the cost of living and to make sure that places like Worcester continue to get better off.”

ENDS

Notes to editors

For more information on Budget 2020, please see:

https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/budget-2020

For a full transript of the Chancellor’s speech, please see:

https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/budget-speech-2020

For more information on Robin’s previous statements on Business, please see:

For Robin’s previous press releases on employment and pay, please see:

https://www.walker4worcester.com/category/campaigns/jobs/