James Brokenshire has welcomed the Chancellor's Spring Budget Statement, which included additional support for the elderly, new investment in education and our schools and further measures designed to support Britain's businesses. The Statement also forecast improved economic growth of 2% in 2017, with real wages predicted to rise every year to 2020/21.
On top of these important measures, the Chancellor also underlined the Government's commitment to reducing the tax burden on the most vulnerable, whilst ensuring that those with the broadest shoulders continue to bear the largest burden. A further increase to the National Living Wage in April will provide full time workers with an income boost of £500 this year and the increase in the Personal Tax Allowance to £11,500 will take yet more low earners out of income tax altogether
With an aging population, a robust and effective social care system is vital for older people and their families. On top of the £7bn of extra spending power the Government has already provided, the Chancellor announced an additional £2bn over the next three years for social care in England and more joined up working to help facilitate the discharge of elderly patients from hospitals into care settings. In addition, a further £100million will help set up 100 new triage projects in English A&Es in order to ensure that they are even better prepared next winter.
But it is also necessary to invest in the education and skills of young people to ensure that they are able to enjoy the same life chances as their parents and grandparents. The Budget included funding for a further 110 new free schools, including new faith, specialist and selective institutions and £216million designed to improve our existing school infrastructure. This represents a record investment of £10bn in schools over the course of this Parliament and demonstrates the Government's commitment to improving the education of our young people to help them succeed in life.
Businesses are also set to benefit from today's announcements, with the Chancellor once again reaffirming his pledge to make Britain the best place in the world to do business. With Corporation Tax scheduled to fall to 17% by the end of the Parliament, the Government will also provide a package worth £435 million pounds, capping business rate increases for those coming out of Small Business Rate Relief at £50 in 2017/18. In addition, 90% of all pubs will see a £1,000 discount on their 2017 Business Rates bill to keep them at the heart of our communities and local authorities will have a further £300million made available to them for discretionary support to individual businesses in their areas.
Commenting following the Budget Statement, James said:
"This Budget is welcome news for the UK as we prepare to exit the European Union. With a strong economy behind us, the Chancellor has announced a range of important measures that will deliver real change for older people, for those in education and for business owners up and down the country, whilst helping to bring down the deficit and make sure that we live within our means. Importantly, the changes to the Personal Tax Allowance and the increase in the National Living Wage will support the most vulnerable and allow all of us to keep more of the money that we earn."
Full details of the announcements made in the Chancellor's Budget Statement can be found here: