Julian Welcomes Chancellor’s Balanced Approach in Budget Announcement
November 22, 2017
Julian welcomed today’s Budget announcement; describing it as “a sensible balance between fiscal responsibility and optimistic investment”.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer opened his statement by asserting that the UK’s deficit will fall to 2.3 per cent of GDP in 2017 as national debt will start falling next year as a share of national income. Mr Hammond went on to praise the Government’s record since 2010 by helping over 3 million people into work.
Julian was also encouraged that inflation is expected to peak in this quarter before falling back to its 2 per cent target over the next year, and was reassured by the £3 billion commitment to prepare Britain for every possible eventuality as we leave the European Union.
In his statement the Chancellor announced significant funding increases for the NHS, with £6.3 billion of new money. £2.8 billion is being provided to help the health service deal with rising demand and meet waiting time targets between 2017 and 2020, with a further £3.5 billion of investment in NHS buildings and facilities by 2022-23.
Reflecting on the announcement, Julian said “I am very glad to see the Chancellor increasing NHS funding to ease pressures on our health service, and help it provide better care.
Crucially, this new money will be coming through rapidly, with £335 million being provided this year to help the NHS increase capacity over the winter months, with an additional £1.6 billion following in 2018-19, so we should see an immediate positive impact from boosting spending in this vital area.”
Mr Hammond also grabbed headlines by abolishing Stamp Duty for first-time buyers on properties below £300,000 and announced a range of measures to help tackle challenges in the housing market. Furthermore, there was a clear focus that housing developments are needed in urban areas with desirable access to transport links and a commitment to protecting Britain’s greenbelt.
Julian commented: “I was particularly keen to hear from the Chancellor on the issue of housing, which is one of the major issues facing our country. I am pleased this Budget supports house building with over £15 billion of new financial support being made available over the next five years. This brings support in this area to over £44 billion.
I recently supported a local application to the Housing Infrastructure Fund, so hearing the Fund will be backed to the tune of £2.7 billion is encouraging news for authorities bidding for transport infrastructure required to deliver housing. In addition, bridging the gap between granted planning permissions and built homes is vital, so the announcement of an urgent Review into this area is welcome.”
Mr Hammond also announced that the National Productivity Investment Fund would be extended to 2022-23 and increased to £31 billion. This increase will support jobs and growth by investing in transport, housing, and digital communications including 5G and full fibre broadband. Mr Hammond also introduced the new Transforming Cities Fund which will invest £1.7 billion to improve local transport and tackle congestion as well as discounted lending for local authorities.
Julian added: “Overall public investment is at a sizeable level and the Chancellor is also setting out measures to boost private investment by upgrading infrastructure and promoting business. I welcome the Transforming Cities Fund but find myself frustrated that York will be one amongst many bidders; if we had secured a devolution deal this would not have been necessary