Julian Comments on ‘Forward-Looking and Realistic Spring Budget’
March 8, 2017
Julian has responded to the government’s Budget presented today by the Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond. Julian said “overall, this was a forward-looking, realistic budget, with some important measures to help families and businesses”.
In his statement the Chancellor announced a significant increase in predicted economic growth to 2% (from 1.4%) for 2017, while unemployment is now at its lowest level for 11 years.
The recent business rates revaluation, due to take effect in April 2017, has been a cause for concern for many businesses and featured prominently in the Budget. The Chancellor announced a £435 million relief package for businesses facing significant increases in bills.
Commenting Julian said, “This measure is absolutely critical to ensure that businesses affected do not face the cliff-edge increases they were fearing. Crucially it was announced that small businesses who were due to lose Small Business Rate Relief will have their bills capped, and local authorities will be given £300 million to make discretionary cases for particularly hard-hit businesses.
“I am also pleased that the Chancellor gave the Government’s backing to the pub trade, an industry that is hit especially hard by business rates revaluations due to high rateable values.”
The Chancellor also announced additional measures to help alleviate pressures on social care and the NHS in England.
Following this Julian said, “The additional £2 billion announced today for social care to councils in England is very important, as it is one of the greatest pressures facing local authorities up and down the country, including in York where the Council spends about half of its budget.
“This funding will also help to reduce pressure on the NHS, and I welcome the news that a further £425 million will be invested in capital funding for Accident and Emergency departments.
“Looking further ahead it is important that we recognise that money alone will not fix the challenges facing social care in this country, which is why the forthcoming green paper announced today which will look at the long-term sustainability of social care is so important.”
Mr Hammond also announced further action to build up the UK’s research and higher education sectors. The Chancellor committed £100 million over the next 4 years to attract more global research talent to the UK, and funding for an additional 1,000 PhD places in areas linked to key industries, mainly in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) subjects.
Julian said “Given the importance of the higher education and research sector for York, I was particularly glad to see the Chancellor provide more support today. It is vital that centres of excellence like the University of York can attract the very best international talent, something that becomes even more essential as we leave the EU.”
Julian also added “I do have a few questions about the impact of proposed increases in National Insurance Contributions for some self-employed people, and will be looking at the detail of these to see how they will impact on my constituents”.