This week the Chancellor delivered his Autumn Statement which showed that the UK is the fastest-growing major economy in the world and which reported higher growth, lower unemployment, falling inflation and a falling deficit.
This may seem all well and good, but what were the key announcements and do they really mean for residents of North Warwickshire & Bedworth?
The first piece of good news was released ahead of the statement; with the Chancellor pledging an extra £2billion a year funding for the NHS, on top of that we will also use an additional £1.1billion in fines from the banks who took advantage of society to invest in local GP services to give patients access to advanced care. This extra funding is great news for our local hospital, the George Eliot.
There was also an announcement of major infrastructure projects for the region which will see an unprecedented £1.4bn invested in the Midlands road network. This is a major boost for businesses and social travellers alike, increasing our accessibility and connectivity.
The headline grabbing measure centred around the long overdue reform of the Stamp Duty system. Simply put, currently, when you pay Stamp Duty on the purchase of a house, you pay the full amount of the rating bracket you are in, irrespective of whether you are £1 or £1000 over the previous threshold. Under the new system, which is similar to how income tax is calculated, you will only pay the higher rate on the amount which falls in to that band. This will benefit almost everyone who is buying a house, but especially first time and lower value property buyers. 98% of families in North Warwickshire & Bedworth will significantly benefit from this measure saving an average of £4500 when moving home.
Also announced was the raising of the tax free personal allowance to £10,600 in April. This will lift 38,000 of the lowest paid people in our region out of tax completely and ensure thousands of others keep more of their hard earned cash.
Protection of Small Business is something I am very keen on and their part in being the driving force of the recovery should never be understated. It was pleasing, therefore, that the Chancellor recognised this with an extension of the doubling of Small Business Rate Relief and a cap on the increase of future rates at 2%. High Street shops and cafes will benefit from an increase in their discount by 50%, from £1,000 to £1,500.
Finally, as a backing to the aspiration to work and save, husbands and wife’s will be able to inherit their partners ISA and keep its tax free status.
This Autumn statement is very encouraging and shows that the difficult decisions that the Government has had to make over the last 4 years in order to bring economic stability is working. This has allowed us to further support our NHS, lower paid workers and first time buyers in North Warwickshire & Bedworth.