Today I welcome a budget that rewards hard working people in Watford. I welcome lower taxes, higher wages and significant investment in our public services, including our much loved National Health Service.
Although the next few months will be challenging as we prepare to leave the European Union, today shows that we do so from a position of strength, as our economy continues to grow. We are no longer borrowing more than we spend, and the deficit has fallen by 80% since 2010.
Today the Chancellor has proven that Britain and Watford are open for business as we back our high streets, encourage apprenticeships, increase support for SMEs and invest heavily in research and development.
This budget prepares us for the future.
1. From April the National Living Wage will increase from £7.83 an hour to £8.21, giving around 2.4 million full time workers a £690 pay rise
2. A package of measures is being introduced to support our high streets, including a £675m Future High Streets Fund, mandatory business rates relief for public lavatories and a 1/3 off business rates relief for small retailers. Apprenticeship support will also be increased for small businesses
3. The amount you can earn before paying income tax will rise to £12,500. This rise comes a year earlier than planned and means a basic rate taxpayer will pay £1,205 less tax in 2019-20 than in 2010-11
4. A new railcard for all young people aged 26 to 30 to be made available nationally by the end of the year. This the first digital only railcard and will offer up to a 1/3 off most rail travel
5. Fuel duty to remain frozen for a ninth year, saving the average driver £1,000 since 2010
6. NHS funding will increase, including more spending for mental health. The government will increase its budget by £20.5 billion after inflation by 2023-24. This includes an increase in mental health spending by more than £2 billion a year by 2023-24
7. £650 million for social care next year, building on the additional £240m provided earlier this year for Social Care winter pressures
8. £400 million extra for schools this year. This money will go directly to schools, averaging £10,000 per primary school and £50,000 per secondary school
9.£30 billion to improve roads which is the largest ever investment of this kind. Local authorities will receive £420 million to fix potholes, bridges and tunnels, and there will be a £150 million to improve local traffic hotspots
10. Stamp duty is being abolished on homes up to £500,000 for shared ownership homes purchased since the last budget