Rachel has welcomed the Chancellor’s Budget which delivers on the priorities of hard-working families in Redditch.

In setting out Government spending for the year ahead, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, announced £20.5billion more funding for the NHS, a £1billion package of measures to support those on Universal Credit, £400million extra for schools this year, an additional £160million for counter terrorism policing, £30billion to improve roads, PFI contracts to be abolished and a cut in business rates for high street and town centre shops.

With the economy continuing to grow, debt forecast to fall every year and the deficit to be cut further, the Chancellor also announced a range of measures to help families in Redditch cope with the cost of living. This includes a 4.9% increase in the National Living Wage next April, taking the rate to £8.21 – handing a full-time worker a further £690 annual pay increase. Fuel duty will also be frozen for the ninth year in a row. Pubs are being supported too with beer duty frozen for the coming year.

The Chancellor also said he will be raising both the Personal Allowance and the Higher Rate Threshold to £12,500 and £50,000, respectively, from April 2019 – delivering the Conservative’s manifesto commitments one year early. This will put £130 in the pocket of a typical basic rate taxpayer.

Building more houses is also a top priority for the Conservative Government. Therefore, £500million will be spent on infrastructure to unlock 1000s of new homes and the cap on local authorities borrowing for house building will be abolished.

Rachel has also been contacted by a number of constituents calling on the Government to make digital technology firms pay their fair share of tax in the UK. Yesterday the Chancellor announced the UK will be leading the world in this field with the creation of a UK Digital Services Tax. This will be carefully designed to ensure digital tech giants, and not tech start-ups, shoulder the burden of this new 2% tax.

The Chancellor confirmed the NHS will be receiving £20.5billion extra in funding over the next five years. Included in the NHS’ long-term plan will be an extra £2billion a year in mental health funding from 2023/24. This will help to create mental health crisis centres in every A&E, as well as a 24-hour mental health crisis helpline.

Adult social care will also be receiving an immediate boost in funding. Building on the additional £240million for Social Care winter pressures announced earlier this month, the Chancellor will also make available a further £650million of grant funding for English Councils for 2019/20.

Over the next two years, the Ministry of Defence will be receiving an extra £1billion to boost the UK’s cyber capabilities and our anti-submarine warfare capacity.

And to support high streets and town centres, a £675million Future High Street Fund will be created. As well as that, small retailers will see their business rates bill cut by one third.

In welcoming yesterday’s Budget, Rachel said: “Today’s Budget addresses a number of concerns constituents have raised with me over the past few weeks and months. In particular this includes more than £1billion extra to support my constituents and people across the country who are on Universal Credit.

“Tough decisions had to be made as a result of the mess we inherited from the Labour Party, but the Chancellor has confirmed that austerity is coming to an end. Debt is falling, the deficit is being cut and the economy is continuing to grow. Let’s not let Labour take us back to square one.

“As a result of the progress we’ve made these past eight years, the Government is able to increase the National Living Wage further and increase the Personal Allowance Threshold – these two measures alone will enable my constituents to keep more of their hard-earned money.

“As part of our #UnlockRedditch agenda, I worked with the Leader of Redditch Borough Council, Councillor Matt Dormer, to lobby the Chancellor for more funding for our town centres and a cut in business rates to support our small retailers. The Chancellor’s announcement yesterday is a huge victory for the #UnlockRedditch campaign.

“Following these funding announcements, I will be working hard to lobby the Government to ensure Redditch and Worcestershire receives its fair share of the funding announced today. From extra NHS, social care and school funding, to support for our high streets, I’ll be ensuring my constituents benefit from this boost as much as possible.”