• Chris Clarkson has welcomed the Conservative Government’s Autumn Budget and Spending Review, saying it will help working families meet the cost of living, support businesses’ recovery, deliver high class public services, and drive economic growth as the country continues its recovery from the pandemic.
• Key announcements to help with the cost of living include a significant tax cut for low-income families by reducing the Universal Credit taper rate from 63 per cent to 55 per cent, raising the National Living Wage to £9.50 an hour, increasing pay for public sector workers, and freezing fuel and alcohol duty.
• Measures to help drive economic growth and support businesses include cuts to business rates, new tax reliefs, and record spending on infrastructure and R&D – laying the foundations for a stronger economy as we build back better from the pandemic.
The Budget prioritises helping working families and vulnerable households with the cost of living, including through a significant tax cut for low-income families by reducing the Universal Credit taper rate from 63 per cent to 55 per cent, a 6.6 per cent increase in the National Living Wage to £9.50 an hour – giving a £1,000 pay rise to 2 million of the lowest paid – lifting pay restraints for public sector workers, a freeze in fuel duty for the twelfth consecutive year, and a freeze in alcohol duty – alongside radical reform to make the system simpler, fairer and healthier.
Businesses will also benefit from new measures, including a 50 per cent cut in business rates next year for 90 per cent of retail, hospitality and leisure – alongside a freeze of all rates – the creation of new business rates relief to encourage green technologies and improvements to properties, and a doubling of creative industries tax reliefs for the UK’s world-leading theatres, orchestras, museums and galleries.
Other measures to drive economic growth include record investment in our roads, railways and broadband; supporting innovation through a record £20 billion spending on R&D; and a huge uplift in skills training through T-levels, Institutes of Technology, and apprenticeships.
As part of the three-year Spending Review delivered alongside the Budget, total government departmental spending will increase by £150 billion by 2024 – a 3.8 per cent annual real terms increase – the largest real terms increase this century, and record levels of capital investment not seen in 50 years.
This funding increase will help to deliver on the Conservative Government’s key manifesto promises, including building 40 new hospitals, recruiting 20,000 police officers, and raising per pupil spending in schools to record levels.
Underpinning these measures, the Budget strengthens the country’s public finances and will get debt falling again, following the £400 billion package of support put in place during the pandemic. The new fiscal rules set out today by the Chancellor will require the government to only borrow to invest and get debt falling by 2024, in line with the Conservative Government’s 2019 manifesto commitment.
Commenting, Chris Clarkson said:
“Despite the unprecedented challenges caused by the pandemic, this Conservative Government is getting on with the job and delivering on the priorities of the British people.
“This Budget will make a real difference to people in Heywood & Middleton helping working families with the cost of living, supporting businesses with their recovery, and investing in our public services and infrastructure so that everyone gets the hospitals, schools, and police services they deserve.
“I am particularly pleased to note the Universal Credit taper rate reducing from 63 per cent to 55 per cent – that will make a real tangible difference to working families in H&M at a time when I know money is tight. That coupled with the fuel tax freeze I hope will be welcomed.
“I know from my post bag that beer duty is something constituents are concerned about and the duty freeze, plus the restructuring of alcohol duty rates, will be simpler and please many people. Coupled with the rate cut for the hospitality sector this will make a difference in our area.
“I was elected on a promise to level up and improve opportunity for people in Heywood and Middleton – and today’s Budget shows how this Government is delivering on that promise as we build back better.”
Commenting, Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said:
“One year ago, this country was in the grip of the biggest recession in 300 years. Thanks to our Plan For Jobs, we are today recovering faster than our major competitors, more people are in work, and growth is up. But uncertainty in the global economy means that recovery is now under threat.
“That is why this Budget and Spending Review delivers a stronger economy for the British people – strengthening our public finances, helping working families meet the cost of living, supporting businesses, delivering stronger public services, and driving economic growth.
“This is a Budget which will level up every part of the United Kingdom. It is a Budget which provides the foundations for a stronger economy.”