Rachel Maclean, MP for Redditch County, has welcomed today’s Budget from Chancellor Philip Hammond, as it lays the foundations for a Britain fit for the future, investing for the long-term while supporting families and businesses right now.

Rachel said: “I am delighted because there are announcements that benefit hard-working people and businesses here in Redditch.”

Some of the highlights include:

  • Supporting families in their everyday lives, increasing the National Living Wage by above inflation, cutting Income Tax by raising the Personal Allowance and freezing fuel duty for the eighth year.
  • Investing in our NHS with an additional 2.8 billion to 2019-20, including £350 million for this winter and £1.6 billion next year. A further £10 billion in capital to upgrade buildings and facilities. Additional funding for nurses’ pay rises.
  • Building homes our young people need, setting a target to deliver 300,000 homes per year, reforming planning to unlock land for first-time buyers, and abolishing stamp duty for over 80 per cent of first-time buyers. There will be no charge for first-time buyers for properties up to £300,000.
  • Helping 5.5 million small businesses by bringing forward the planned Business Rates switch from RPI to CPI to April 2018, worth £2.3 billion to businesses over the next five years.
  • Extending discounted rail travel with a new 26–30 rail card, giving 4.5 million more young people a third off their rail fares.
  • Extending the £1,000 discount on Business Rates for pubs with a rateable value of less than £100,000 to March 2019. Duties frozen on ciders, wines, spirits and beers.
  • Reducing waiting time for Universal Credit. Recognising practical difficulties that have occurred, the seven-day waiting period will be removed, so claimants only have to wait five weeks for their first claim. Increasing the amount of advances available, so a household can receive a full month’s claim within five days. Any new UC claimant in receipt of Housing Benefit will continue to receive it for two weeks.

Rachel said: “It’s been a great privilege to hear in person from the Chancellor today for the first time as he delivered his autumn Budget.

“There is more than the measures bulleted above, such as investing a further £2.3 billion in science and innovation, and over £500m in a range of initiatives from Artificial Intelligence, to 5G and full fibre broadband, and providing backing to autonomous and electric vehicles, but many of these measures will massively help hard-working people in Redditch because they will keep more of their earnings, while making it easier for young people to get on the property ladder and to travel around.

“No stamp duty for first-time buyers for a property up to £300,000 is a real help onto the property ladder, as the average Redditch home costs around £230,000.

“And for those who rely on welfare benefits, I welcome changes to Universal Credits that will help overcome some of the difficulties the scheme has encountered in its early days.”