30th October 2018

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Phillip Hammond, delivered his budget to the House of Commons yesterday. The Chancellor announced increased spending on Universal Credit, an increase in the personal allowance for tax payers, an increase in the National Living Wage and further support for house-builders, amongst other financial commitments from the government.

Philip Hammond billed this as a budget “for Britain’s future; a budget that shows the perseverance of the British people finally paying off. A budget for hard working families who live their lives far from this place and care little for the twists and turns of Westminster politics.”

Universal Credit is to receive a boost of £2.7bn to increase work allowances and to help people to transition to the new benefit. Defence spending will increase by £1bn to support counter-terrorism, cyber-warfare and the new nuclear submarine programme.

The Chancellor also confirmed the agreed additional £20.5bn for the NHS over the next 5 years – the single largest cash commitment to public services by a peacetime government in history.

On infrastructure and transport, the Chancellor outlined the £30bn package for infrastructure spending and road and rail improvements over the coming years. The budget also included a new tax on plastic packaging that does not contain at least 30% recyclable material and a commitment to tax takeaway coffee cups if industry does not move quickly enough to offer environmentally friendly alternatives.

Borrowing will reduce over the coming years and debt as a share of GDP will decrease in the future too.

Speaking after the Budget, St Albans MP Anne Main said, “There is a lot of promising news in this budget and I think it shows the government has listened and reacted by putting more money into vital public services.

“I was very disappointed with the lack of proper investment in the schools budget. During my debate on school funding last week I felt that I, along with other colleagues, made a strong case for an increase in funding and that has not happened. The one off payment or around £10,000 per primary school and £50,000 per secondary school is a step in the right direction, but it doesn’t come close to the amount of help our schools should be getting. I fully intend to raise this issue again as we move towards the spending review. 

“The additional money for Universal Credit is also good news. Funded correctly, this benefit will work well and it rewards those that want to work. There have clearly been problems with the roll out and it is good that the government have put forward money to ease the transition and support those already on UC.

“This is very good budget for small businesses and the high street. We will see cuts to business rates and money to help our high streets which will make a real difference. The freeze on beer, cider and spirits duty is also good news for all our pubs in St Albans.

“Moving to support smaller businesses and create a tax on the huge tech companies operating in the UK while paying minimal tax shows that this is a budget for hard working families.

“As a long-time campaigner on this issue and chair of the APPG on the prevention of plastic waste – I was glad to see a tax on plastic packaging, It is absolutely right that we create tax incentives to change behaviour and this will encourage industry to move away from unsustainable packaging and promote more recyclable packaging in the future.

“This was a positive budget that delivers support for key public services and shows that our hard work has paid off over the last 8 years. The government have handled the public finances in a sensible way and it is great that we have more money to boost funding for many of the key services that we all rely on.”

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