The Chancellor's Budget

Last week the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Jeremy Hunt used his budget statement to set out major reforms to childcare, support households with high energy bills, create incentives for business investment and also to establish a clear pathway towards future investment in the UK nuclear industry.

The background to this budget is very different from that for the mini-budget statement last autumn. As a result of actions taken by this government, we have avoided a recession, inflation is falling and investor confidence is rising. The Prime Minister and Chancellor have set out a clear strategy to halve inflation this year to ease the cost of living and give people financial security. We will grow the economy creating better-paid jobs and opportunity right across the country, and reduce our national debt so that we can secure the future of public services. We will also continue to invest in cutting NHS waiting lists so people will get the care they need more quickly.

I was pleased to see that the Chancellor had listened to the many representations he received, including from myself, for more investment in childcare. For many working families this has become a big monthly bill, so the government has announced it will help families balance work and childcare by extending 30 hours free childcare to working parents of children aged 9 months to 4 years. The Chancellor also confirmed that he will be extending cost of living support with our Energy Price Guarantee at £2,500 until July.

The Budget also contained measures to help create new jobs by introducing a £25 billion tax cut for business investment over the next three years. We are also increasing the annual pension allowance and abolishing the Lifetime Allowance entirely. So you can save more for your retirement without paying tax. This will create incentives for many people over the age of 50, but particularly doctors, to stay in or return to work, so that we can continue to benefit from their experience. This could be one of the most important reforms to encourage more qualified doctors back to working on the frontline of healthcare.

The arts and creative industries are also an important part now of our local economy, particularly with events like the Folkestone Triennial art show. I was pleased to see that the Chancellor has also extended the Museums and Galleries Exhibition Tax Relief for the next two years. The headline rates for the relief will remain at 45% for non-touring productions and 50% for touring productions until 2025.

I have long campaigned for the future of the nuclear industry at Dungeness and was pleased to see the important role this technology can play in meeting our future energy needs acknowledged in the budget. The Chancellor has recognised that nuclear power is ‘environmentally sustainable’ as a low carbon source of electricity, and as such it will now benefit from investment incentives that exist for other green sources of energy. Jeremy Hunt has also launched the first competition for small modular nuclear reactors with the government committing to a fifty percent investment partnership in the winning design. I believe that Dungeness would be an excellent location for these new reactors to be located and will continue to press the case for this.

Published: 24/03/2023

Copyright 2024 Damian Collins. All rights reserved

Promoted by Dylan Jeffrey on behalf of Damian Collins, both of FHCA, 4 West Cliff Gardens, Folkestone, Kent, CT20 1SP.


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