Damian said this week’s Budget had as its priority to put the needs of future generations first, and to continue to deliver economic security in the face of global economic headwinds.
“This budget is only possible because our finances are in better shape to deal with threats still posed by volatility and a deteriorating global economic outlook.
“The economy is growing and more robust because of the steps taken over the last six years but the need to deliver sound public finances is still important, to balance the books and improve our national economic resilience.
“The emphasis is on long term solutions to long term problems, so we don’t put off difficult decisions and leave unnecessary burdens for the next generation. Acting now will provide more stability and more choice for the future.”
Highlights from the Budget include the introduction of a new Lifetime ISA, enabling those under 40 to save up to £4,000 per year – tax free – with the government adding £1 for every £4 saved, up until the age of 50.
Another new programme, Help to Save, offers an even bigger proportionate top up, of up to 50%, for low-income working households building up their rainy-day savings.
“I’m delighted that young people are now being given real encouragement and choice in how they save for their futures with the new Lifetime ISA (LISA). Many are trying to save up deposits to buy a first property and this should make a difference in areas such as East Hampshire, where house prices are far above the national average.
“Young people now don’t have to choose between saving for retirement or for buying a home, because the LISA can do either. And helping lower income families to start saving and create a cushion against life’s shocks, with the Help to Save product, can also help to prevent more people from tripping into rip-off debts.”
The announcement that the personal allowance will rise again to £11,500 from April 2017 will take an estimated 1,898 low-earners across East Hampshire out of paying income tax altogether, as well as reducing income tax for another 50,078.
And the cut in taxes for small businesses will mean that 190,000 business properties across the South East will benefit from the business rates reduction package; especially significant for many market town shops and village pubs.
The freeze in fuel duty – for the sixth year in a row, and the longest such freeze for 40 years - is particularly welcome in rural areas like East Hampshire, helping small firms and households alike. Pubs also received a boost with the announcement that duty on beer, cider and spirits would also be frozen.
The green light given to Crossrail 2 will be welcome news for commuters on the Alton and Portsmouth lines, as this will bring new capacity to the network and, in time, help on easing congestion at Waterloo.
The Chancellor also announced an award of £190,000 from the so-called Tampon Tax fund for the Southern Domestic Abuse Service - one of whose refuges is in East Hampshire – to help provide support for victims of domestic abuse in the area.
“The award for the Southern Domestic Abuse Service was a particular highlight for me as I had the privilege to visit one of their refuges recently and see first-hand the difference made by SDAS in the community.”
For a full copy of the Budget, including supporting documents, click BUDGET IN FULL