Last week’s Budget, notable for being the first to be held on a Monday since 1962, was a signal of intent from this Government to cement the Conservatives’ place as the Party of the working people. Following a period of careful fiscal management and solid economic recovery, the Government now has the economy back on track, allowing the UK to really press on and prosper.
South Leicestershire is truly blessed with a thriving market town in Lutterworth and a number of busy village high streets from Blaby to Broughton Astley; including small, unique independents to the High Street retailers we know and love. While South Leicestershire may be thriving, it can certainly be said that high streets elsewhere are perhaps not at their healthiest, however I am delighted that the Government have recognised the concerns of retailers and shopkeepers and as part of this Budget have slashed business rates by up to a third – this means a tremendous 90% of all shops will save upwards of £8,000 each year. Small, independent shops are the backbone of our villages and towns and both our local and national economies, so it is very welcome news that the Government are taking action to support them.
Closer to home, the Conservatives have also fulfilled their General Election manifesto commitment by raising the Personal Allowance; rewarding hard-working families and individuals across my constituency of South Leicestershire and the wider country, ensuring people keep more of what they earn.
Similarly, I know many Mercury readers will be very happy to have seen the further freeze in fuel duty, and, perhaps most popular of all, beer, cider and spirits duty have also been frozen for another year, another means of supporting our Great British pubs.
When visiting secondary schools in my constituency, a consistent and constant desire of many young people is their ambition to buy their first home. Like many, I firmly believe that all of us should have both the means and opportunity to achieve this ambition, hence why I was very pleased to hear that the Chancellor has abolished stamp duty retrospectively for first-time buyers of shared ownership properties. It is imperative that young people are provided with the means to take that all important first step onto the housing ladder, and I do hope that the Government’s plans are making that more achievable.
I am delighted by many of the Chancellor’s announcements which I hope will reward those hardest working in society, provide our High Streets with the backing they need to thrive and grow, and crucially to keep Britain working and to keep our economy on the straight and narrow; working for Britain and working for all of us.
This article was originally printed in the Leicester Mercury on Friday 9th November, as part of the 'In the House' series.