HIGH Wycombe’s motto is “industry enriches”. Production and private enterprise are central to our traditions. They will be the basis of our country’s prosperity in future and this week’s Budget once again showed that the Government is taking us in the right direction.
There was a raft of support for manufacturing business, including on investment, energy bills and exports. Economic growth has seen the biggest upwards revision between budgets for 30 years. It’s increasingly clear that our country is recovering from the worst economic crisis in living memory.
Support for savers was at the centre of this Budget. A single new ISA with an annual limit of £15,000 is a step change of opportunity to save.
Abolishing completely the 10p tax rate on savings income will benefit 1.5 million low income savers. The limit on Premium Bond savings will rise and there will be a second £1 million jackpot.
The new pensioner bond from January 2015 will provide a better return than anything on the market today. No one will have to buy a pension annuity if they do not want to and pensioners will have much more freedom and advice.
The personal allowance is up, benefiting most taxpayers, fuel duty is 20p a litre cheaper than under Labour’s plans and the alcohol escalator is scrapped. Together with the halving of bingo duty and the abolition of the two higher rates of Air Passenger Duty, that’s good news for all the people who have campaigned to lower these taxes.
With the Government and so many individuals and families still deep in debt, the Chancellor is taking action to keep interest rates low. Any wavering from our plans to balance the books risks a sudden rise in rates which would have profound consequences.
However, low interest rates have been detrimental to savers and people on fixed incomes, such as pensioners. The Governor of the Bank of England has begun to acknowledge that low rates will do long-term harm to our society.
I agree and I expect the independent Monetary Policy Committee will raise rates in due course. Let’s not forget the scale of the mess we inherited.
Even after tax hikes and spending cuts, the Government is still planning to borrow £108 billion this year, about £1,700 for every man, woman and child in the country. We’ve reduced over-spending by a third but much difficult work remains ahead.
The Government is working hard to re-balance our economy without sudden shocks. Schemes like Help to Buy are intended to assist people up the housing ladder while business recovers. We are determined that our country is going to out-compete, out-smart and out-do the rest of the world.
The facts of life remain Conservative. It’s in everyone’s interests that we balance the budget and return to sound money. As we continue turning our country around, Conservatives will remain on the side of those who work hard and do the right thing.