Budget 2017 – Jobs, earnings and benefits

James Brokenshire has welcomed measures announced in the Chancellor’s Budget Statement to boost earnings, continue to support the UK economy as it creates record numbers of jobs and ensure proper support for the most vulnerable in our society.

More than 3million jobs have been created since 2010, supported by the creation of one million new businesses. This has led to the unemployment rate now being the lowest since 1975, with the Office for Budget Responsibility estimating that a further 600,000 new jobs will be created between now and 2022.

From April 2018, the National Living Wage will rise by 4.4 per cent to £7.83, meaning full-time workers are £2,000 better off since it was introduced. The National Minimum Wage rate for young people will rise by around 5 per cent – the largest increase in youth rates in ten years.

As well as boosting earnings, the Government is remaining steadfast in its commitment to helping people to keep more of what they earn. From the beginning of the next tax year in April, the personal allowance will rise to £11,850, meaning the typical basic rate tax payer will be £1,075 a year better off compared to 2010. We will also raise the higher rate of tax to £46,350, delivering on an important election pledge.

But there is also work to be done to ensure the successful rollout of Universal Credit and to see it achieve its ambition of supporting the most vulnerable and helping those that want and are able to work back into employment. This switch to Universal Credit is a necessary and important change and it is helping more people into work to the extent that there are no 1million less jobless families than in 2010. However, the Government recognises the practical difficulties with the system and so is removing the 7 day waiting period, so that claimants only have to wait 5 weeks for their first claim. In addition, the amount of advances available is to be increased to ensure that no deserving household goes without support for lengthy periods of time.

Commenting James said:

“Despite the gloomy pictures painted by the Opposition and others, the UK economy continues to create jobs and will forge another 600,000 between now and 2022. This is positive news and is a sign of the robustness of our economy.”

“These measures are about supporting those hardworking people that power the economy and will help raise incomes and reduce the tax burden on families. But they will also ensure that the most vulnerable in our society are not left behind and are properly supported through our welfare system.”