The Chancellor’s budget

I welcome the Chancellor’s Budget yesterday (16th March), which set out the continued action being taken to secure sound public finances, support hardworking families and back businesses. Key measures included:

– Cutting taxes for working people so they can keep more of the money they earn. From April next year the tax free personal allowance will rise to £11,500, a tax cut for 31 million people that means a typical basic rate taxpayer will be paying over £1,000 less income tax than in 2010. The higher rate threshold will also increase to £45,000, a tax cut of over £400.

– Freezing fuel duty to help household budgets and support small firms. Fuel duty is frozen for the sixth year in a row, a saving of £75 a year to the average driver and £270 a year to a small business with a van. Beer and cider duty is also frozen to back British pubs.

– Improving our schools so our children get the best start in life. Providing extra money so every school in England becomes an academy, and a new sugar levy on the soft drinks industry to tackle childhood obesity. The money raised will be used to double sports funding in primary schools and fund longer school days in secondary schools that offer their pupils a wider range of activities, including extra sport.

– Introducing a new Lifetime ISA to help the next generation to save. Increasing the ISA limit from just over £15,000 to £20,000 for everyone, and introducing a new lifetime ISA for those under 40 to encourage saving towards a first home and pension. For every £4 saved, the government will give you £1.

– Cutting taxes for small businesses. 600,000 small businesses will pay no business rates at all, an annual saving of almost £6,000, and 250,000 small businesses will get a tax cut on their business rates bill. We have also cut Capital Gains Tax to boost enterprise and cut Corporation Tax to support job creation.