Mid Worcestershire MP Nigel Huddleston was in the House of Commons yesterday as the Chancellor of the Exchequer made his autumn statement.
Amongst the announcements were commitments that:
The Government will borrow £8billion less than forecast, with the aim of a £10.1billion budget surplus by 2020.
· Policing, health, education, international aid and defence budgets will be protected.
· There will be no real-terms cuts in police budgets in England and Wales, with spending to rise by £900m by 2020.
· Defence budget will rise from £34bn to £40bn by 2020, with extra cash for the security services.
· The health budget in England, currently £101bn, will rise to £120bn by 2020-21.
· The NHS in England is to get an upfront cash injection of £3.6bn next year as part of £8bn added funding between 2015-6 and 2020-2021.
· There will be a new 3% surcharge on stamp duty for buy-to-let properties and second homes from April 2016, raising about £1billion.
· The state pension will rise by £3.35 a week to £119.30 next year.
· Capital funding of transport projects will rise by 50% by 2020.
· The £15million raised from charging VAT on sanitary products will be given to women's health charities.
Nigel particularly welcomed the announcement from the Chancellor that the government will introduce the first ever national funding formula for schools, high needs and early years, so that funding is transparently and fairly linked to children’s needs. This will end the unfair system where a child from a disadvantaged background in one school attracts half as much funding as a child in identical circumstances in another school, simply because of where they live.
“There were lots of welcome announcements in the Chancellor’s statement, not least that of a new National Funding Formula from 2017. This is long overdue and will doubtless give a big boost to schools in Worcestershire.
The Chancellor rightly recognised that ‘swathes’ of the country are ‘systematically underfunded’ as a result of current funding arrangements and I am pleased that soon. This was the one thing I really wanted to come out of the Autumn Statement and it’s good news for Worcestershire schools and all our children who attend them.
I look forward to the consultation on this in the New Year and will certainly be encouraging schools, teachers, parents and governors to feed into this process.
I know from the number of emails that I have received on the issue that many of my constituents will also welcome the fact that the government will be able to avoid changes to tax credits because of an improvement in the public finances.
In summary, I believe the autumn statement showed that, whilst there are still difficult choices to be made, our economy is back on the right track, which can only be welcomed.”