Richard Harrington, MP for Watford, has today welcomed a forward thinking budget that will prepare us for the challenges we face and create new opportunities in Britain and Watford.
1. Abolishing Stamp Duty Land Tax on homes under £300,000 for first-buyers from TODAY. First-time buyers of homes worth between £300,000 and £500,000 will also not pay stamp duty on the first £300,000. For first time buyers in Watford, this is a significant saving that will help them realise their dream of owning their own home.
2. £3 billion to prepare Britain for Brexit. The money will make sure the government is ready for every eventuality. It will include funding to prepare the border, the future immigration system and new trade relationships.
3. Giving Britain a pay rise. Britain deserves a pay rise, and so from April 2018, the National Living Wage for those aged 25 and over will increase from £7.50 per hour to £7.83 per hour.8. Over 2 million people are expected to benefit. For a full-time worker, it represents a pay rise of over £600 a year.
4. Providing extra help for pubs and small businesses. Pubs in England will continue to receive a £1,000 business rates discount next year. Business rates will switch to being increased by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) 2 years earlier than planned, reducing the burden of business rates by an extra £2.3 billion.
5. Reducing the cost of train travel for more young people. The Government will work with the rail industry on a new rail card for 26-30 year olds, to be introduced in Spring 2018.
6. Duty on beer, wine, cider and spirits will be frozen, and fuel duty frozen for an eighth year! This means the cost of a typical pint is 1p lower that if duty had risen. It's also 6p lower for an average bottle of wine, and cider will be a new duty altogether. Fuel duty is frozen for the 8th year in a row, saving the average driver £160 a year.
7. More support for households applying for Universal Credit. £1.5bn will be provided upfront to support the rollout of Universal Credit. The 7 day waiting period will be removed, and advance payments will be available from January 2018. Low-income households in areas where private rents have been rising fastest will receive an extra £280 on average in Housing Benefit or Universal Credit.
8. More investment in Maths and Science at schools. Schools will get £600 for every extra pupil who takes A level or Core maths. On top of that, £27 million will help improve how maths is taught in 3,000 schools and £49 million will go towards helping students resitting GCSE maths. £350,000 of extra funding a year will be given to every specialist maths school that is set up across the country and the number of fully-qualified computer science teachers will rise from 4,000 to 12,000.
9. Tax Free Personal Allowance will rise to £11,850. The amount you earn before you start paying income tax will rise from £11,500 to £11,850. This means that in 2018-19, a typical taxpayer will pay £1,075 less income tax than in 2010-11.
10. £6.3 billion of new funding for the NHS, on top of the £10 billion promised across the course of this Parliament. £3.5 billion will be invested in upgrading NHS buildings and improving care. £2.8 billion will go towards improving A&E performance, reducing waiting times for patients, and treating more people this winter.
11. Building 300,000 homes a year. £15.3 billion new financial support for house building over the next five years – taking the total to £44 billion. Changes to the planning system will encourage better use of land in cities and towns. This means more homes can be built while protecting the green belt.
Mr Harrington, MP for Watford, said:
" We face many challenges over the coming months, particularly as we build a new relationship with the EU. But we do so from a position of strength.
Britain's economy continues to grow, with unemployment at its lowest level for 40 years. We can see that in Watford with unemployment having halved in the last 7 years. But there's more to be done.
That's why the Conservative Government is taking the necessary steps to ensure that Britain is fit for the future. We are building more homes than ever before, investing in our NHS, helping more young people get on the property ladder, supporting small businesses, raising wages, investing in our schools and helping savers.
This is a budget that prepares us for the future. There are still many challenges ahead, but with these solid foundations, we can face them head on."