On 16 March, the Chancellor delivered his first budget of 2016 which took the next bold steps in the government’s long-term economic plan, reducing the deficit, achieves a surplus and makes the reforms needed to deliver security for families in South Swindon.
I am fully supportive of the Chancellor’s budget and welcome the following measures as good news for hardworking taxpayers.
From April next year, the tax free personal allowance will rise to £11,500 meaning that hard working people in South Swindon will keep more of the money that they will earn. A typical basic rate taxpayer will be paying over £1,000 less income tax than when we first came into government. The higher rate threshold will also increase to £45,000, a tax cut of over £400.
I also welcome the series of announcements by Secretary of State for Education Nicky Morgan concerning historic reforms to the funding formula that will finally bring an end to the unfairness in the system and extend opportunity to every child, no matter where they come from or which school they go to. This is something which both my North Swindon colleague Justin Tomlinson MP and I have been campaigning for here in Swindon since 2010.
The Chancellor’s endorsement that extra money will also be provided to schools so that children in South Swindon get the best start in life.
I have always taken care as to the amount of sugary drinks my own children have, so I welcomed a new sugar levy on the soft drinks industry so they reduce the sugar content of their product will tackle childhood obesity. The money raised will be used to double sports funding in our primary schools and fund longer school days in secondary schools, which will offer pupils a wider range of activities, including extra sport.
I have previously mentioned in my column that Swindon has been recognised as a place that has huge potential in terms of future growth, and delivers higher productivity levels than cities much larger in size, with higher than average levels of employment. The Chancellor’s announcement of a lower corporation tax rate and a big reduction in small business rates will further benefit businesses operating in South Swindon, particularly here in Old Town where there are a number of small businesses who will now pay no tax at all.
Our town is on the up, and I hope that slashing corporation tax will continue to encourage investment from both large and small businesses.
The Chancellor also froze fuel duty for the sixth year in a row, allowing consumers to benefit from the recent slide in oil prices. This will save drivers an average of £75 a year and £270 a year to small businesses with a van.
Since 2010, around 4,4440 new apprentices have started work in South Swindon. As well as being given the opportunity to get into the workplace and gain skills they need for a successful and secure future, young people will now be given even more financial security thanks to a new lifetime ISA announced by the Chancellor as part of the budget.
Those under 40 will no longer have to choose between saving for their first home, or saving for retirement – the government will now give you money so that you can do both. The ISA limit has also been increased from just over £15,000 to £20,000 for everyone.
In uncertain times and against a deteriorating global economic outlook, this is a budget that delivers the financial security of lower taxes; invests in education; reduces the deficit and achieves a surplus. But most importantly, this a budget that protects the next generation here in South Swindon and puts them first.