Westminster Column- Budget 2018

2nd November 2018

Monday’s Budget was good news for families and businesses in Shropshire.

Public services received a significant boost - the £20.5 billion extra for the NHS was confirmed and front-loaded; and councils were granted an extra £650 million next year for social care. 
 
Our primary schools will receive an average of £10,000 and secondary schools £50,000 to buy the equipment they need. 
 
Shropshire should also benefit from £200 million for the rollout of faster broadband into rural areas, including schools.
 
Shropshire’s extensive road network will also mean we should receive a good allocation from the welcome £420 million immediately available for English councils to help tackle potholes and other road repair.
 
These spending measures are being funded without raising taxes through this government’s balanced approach as the deficit continues to fall in absolute terms and as a proportion of GDP in each year of the five year forecast.
 
In fact, taxes are being cut - one year early from next April - the Personal Allowance will rise to £12,500 and the Higher Rate Threshold to £50,000.
 
Alongside these measures the National Living Wage will increase 5% from £7.83 to £8.21 next April, giving a £690 annual pay rise for a full-time worker. Changes to the working allowance element of Universal Credit, will also give recipients in work an additional £630 a year.
 
So the Budget as a whole offers more to those earning the least.
 
Duty on fuel, beer, cider and spirits was frozen, and rises for cigarettes, wine, and long-haul flights will only be in line with inflation.
 
Our high streets will benefit from a one third cut in business rates for retailers with a rateable value under £51,000, so 90 per cent of all shops will save up to £8,000 for two years. The Chancellor also allocated £675 million to a Future High Streets Fund to strengthen community assets, including restoring historic buildings on high streets. Town planning rules will allow new mixed-use businesses on the high street and conversion of under-used retail units into other uses, including homes.
 
Air ambulance trusts secured £10 million to support their vital work. Village halls will be able to bid in to a new £8 million package for community facilities. All public lavatories will get full business rate relief to help keep them open.
 
There is much in this Budget to help Shropshire and those who live here to prosper.

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