As a Conservative, I believe families should keep as much of their hard-earned money as possible, receive a fair wage and in keeping taxes as low as possible.
That’s exactly what this Conservative Government is doing with changes coming into effect this month.
35 individual policy changes or packages of changes are coming into effect this April. In line with the government’s balanced approach, these are designed to keep taxes low, support living standards and back business.
Most significantly, from April 6th, the Personal Allowance will rise to £12,500. The Higher Rate Threshold in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will rise to £50,000. This will save a typical basic rate taxpayer £130 next year and bring their total savings since 2010-11 to £1,205. We promised to make these changes in the Conservative Manifesto and we are delivering them one year early, giving hard-working people a well-earned tax cut.
There are a number of changes happening this month:
- The National Living Wage has increased from £7.83 to £8.21 an hour, representing an increase to a full-time minimum wage worker’s annual earnings of over £690. Young people and apprentices have also seen above inflation increases in the National Minimum Wage rates.
- From April 8th, the annual work allowances in Universal Credit will rise by over £1000, increasing the amount that 2.4 million households can earn annually before their Universal Credit starts to be withdrawn.
- The additional residence threshold for inheritance tax will increase from £125,000 to £150,000. This provides an additional threshold for homes passed on to direct descendants, and can be used in addition to the £325,000 threshold. This will give many married couples and civil partners an effective £950,000 threshold for inheritance tax.
- A set of measures will come into force to reduce administrative burdens on charities, including increasing the individual donation limit under the Gift Aid Small Donations Scheme to £30, which applies to small collections where it is impractical to obtain a Gift Aid declaration.
- Fuel duty has been frozen for the ninth successive year. By next April, this will have saved the average car driver a cumulative £1,000.
- Air Passenger Duty will remain unchanged from 2012 levels for short-haul flights, and long-haul economy rates will remain frozen at the 2018/19 rate, benefiting 96% of passengers. Long haul business and first-class rates will rise as set out at Autumn Budget 2017.
- At Budget 2018, duties on beer, spirits and most ciders were frozen for another year.
As a Conservative, I also believe in the power of business and free markets. Small and medium-size businesses employ thousands of my constituents and I’m glad measures being introduced this month to support them.
These measures include:
- As of 1 April, businesses are eligible for a 1/3 discount to the business rates bills on their retail property with a rateable value below £51,000.
- To support business investment, we have introduced a major new Structures and Buildings Allowance and a temporary increase in the Annual Investment Allowance to £1 million. Capital allowances special rate will decrease from 8% to 6% to more closely match average accounts depreciation.
- From April 6, non-UK residents will pay tax on the gains they make on UK commercial property. The existing charge on residential property will also be extended. This aligns the UK with other countries and removes an advantage that non-residents have over UK residents.
I think we can all also agree that the UK’s top earners and businesses should pay their fair of tax so we can fund our vital public services like the NHS.
Further changes to crack down on tax avoidance, evasion and unfair outcomes will also come into effect. Among other things, this includes new guidance being published to prevent boundary pushing in VAT groups, a Fulfilment House Due Diligence Scheme to prevent online VAT fraud, as well as new rules on profit fragmentation to prevent businesses from avoiding UK tax by arranging their UK-taxable profits to accrue to territories where significantly lower tax is paid than in the UK.
After reading all these stats and figures I go back to the point I made at the beginning of my column. I believe workers deserve a fair wage because it means they’ll have more money in the pockets at the end of the month – this month’s National Living Wage boost achieves this.
The more money people have in their pockets, the better quality of life they can provide their family with, the more money they can save to buy their first home or move to a new home as their family increases. All this is absolutely at the heart of why I am a Conservative.
I’m proud to be part of a government which has the interests of British workers at the heart of everything it does.