North Swindon Member of Parliament Justin Tomlinson writes that Chancellor George Osborne’s eighth budget on 16 March will make Britain and Swindon fit for the future.
The British economy is stronger because we confronted our country’s problems and took the difficult decisions, but we now face the challenge of a dangerous cocktail of global risks.
Britain is well prepared to handle this challenge, but only if we act now so we don’t pay later. That’s why this Budget will continue the hard work of securing sound public finances, but at the same time we will cut taxes on business and enterprise to create jobs and deliver prosperity; reform to improve schools and invest in homes and infrastructure to deliver real opportunity and social mobility; and support working people by helping savers and letting people keep more of the money they earn.
This Budget put the next generation first by:
- Cutting taxes for working people so they can keep more of the money they earn. From April next year the tax free personal allowance will rise to £11,500, a tax cut for 31 million people that means a typical basic rate taxpayer will be paying over £1,000 less income tax then when we came into government. The higher rate threshold will also increase to £45,000, a tax cut of over £400.
- Freezing fuel duty to help household budgets and support small firms. We have frozen fuel duty for the sixth year in a row, a saving of £75 a year to the average driver and £270 a year to a small business with a van. We’re also freezing beer and cider duty to back British pubs.
- Improving our schools so our children get the best start in life. We’re providing extra money so every school in England becomes an academy and we are going to put a new sugar levy on the soft drinks industry so they reduce the sugar content of their products to tackle childhood obesity. The money raised will be used to double sports funding in primary schools and fund longer school days in secondary schools that offer their pupils a wider range of activities, including extra sport.
- Introducing a new Lifetime ISA to help the next generation to save. We know people like ISAs because they are simple so we’re going to increase the ISA limit from just over £15,000 to £20,000 for everyone. For those under 40, many of whom haven’t had such a good deal from pensions, we’re going to introduce a completely new Lifetime ISA. You won’t have to choose between saving for your first home, or saving for your retirement – the government is going to give you money to do both. For every £4 saved, the government will give you £1. So put in £4,000 each year and the government will give you £1,000 every year until you’re 50.
- Cutting taxes for small businesses. 600,000 small businesses will pay no business rates at all, an annual saving of up to almost £6,000 forever, and 250,000 small businesses will get a tax cut on their business rates bill. We have also cut Capital Gains Tax to boost enterprise and cut Corporation Tax to support job creation.
Britain’s economy is strong, growing and resilient because of the steps we have taken over the past six years. But we face a dangerous times ahead – financial markets are volatile, productivity growth is too low and the outlook for the global economy is weak.
That is why this Conservative Government is taking the steps needed to ensure that Britain is fit for the future. That means ensuring we have sound public finances at the same time as improving schools, helping savers, cutting taxes for both hardworking people and businesses, and giving the green light to major infrastructure projects.
This Budget chooses to put forward long term solutions to long term problems. It puts the next generation first and redoubles our efforts to make Britain and Swindon fit for the future.