Nigel Huddleston MP was in the House of Commons chamber today to hear the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement. This was Phillip Hammond’s first major statement since taking on the position of Chancellor of the Exchequer in July 2016.
The Chancellor announced that the UK economy will grow by a greater than expected 2.1% in 2016, but slower than previously forecast through to 2020. The budget deficit will fall to 3.5% of GDP this year and debt as a proportion of national income will begin falling in 2018-19.
Key announcements included: £23 billion to be spent on a National Productivity Investment Fund to support the government’s industrial strategy by investing in infrastructure and research; a new £2billion Housing Infrastructure Fund to support 100,000 new homes; £1.1billion for local transport networks; a further £1billion to support our digital infrastructure including 5G and fibre-optic technology; and a business rates reduction package worth £6.7 billion including increasing the Rural Rate Relief to 100% - which will give small businesses in rural areas additional rate savings of up to £2,900 per ear.
The Chancellor also announced an increase in the National Living Wage from £7.20 to £7.50 in April 2017 which will increase pay for 1.3million people - worth over £500 a year for a full time worker.
The Chancellor concluded his statement by saying:
“The announcements I have made today lower taxes on working people, boost wages, back savers, and bear down on bills. This Autumn Statement responds to the challenge of building on the UK’s strength, while also heeding the warnings in the OBR’s figures, as we begin writing this new chapter in our country’s history.”
“It re-states our commitment to living within our means and it sets out our choice to invest in our future. It sends a clear message to the world that Britain is open for business and it provides help to those who need it now.”
Nigel Huddleston said:
“This was a solid and sober Autumn Statement with few surprises that provides a stable economic platform to help the UK through uncertain times as we leave the EU. I believe the Chancellor struck the right balance with investment announcements in infrastructure and innovation to increase our productivity combined with a commitment to further reduce taxes and increase wages for the less well off in society.”
“Since 2010 by increasing the personal income tax allowance from £6,475 to £11,000, 4 million people have been taken out of paying income tax altogether. I was pleased to hear the Chancellor reconfirm the commitment to increasing the allowance to £12,500 by 2020. I also welcome the news that the government will reduce the Universal Credit taper rate from 65% to 63% which will increase the incomes of 3 million working households.”