Giles Watling, MP for Clacton, has welcomed the measures in the Budget that deliver for the local area.
The Budget was delivered by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP, on 11th March and contained the following announcements that relate to local services and projects:
- The East of England will receive £69 million in additional funding for local road maintenance through the Potholes Fund in 2020-21.
- The Colchester Braintree Garden Community will receive £272 million from the Housing Infrastructure Fund to realign the eastern section of the A12 and unlock up to 20,930 homes as part of the North Essex Garden Community.
- Essex and Hertfordshire have successfully bid for £2.1 million of funding from the third wave of the Local Full Fibre Networks challenge fund, for investment in local ultrafast broadband projects.
Nationally, the Budget has also delivered:
- An increased National Insurance threshold to £9,500 from this April, benefiting 31 million people with a typical employee saving over £100 in 2020. This is the first step in increasing the threshold to £12,500.
- An increased National Living Wage to £8.72 from April. The Budget also commits to a new ambitious target for the National Living Wage to end low pay.
- Record amounts to build the railways and roads of the future. A total of £640 billion of capital investment will be invested in roads, railways, communications, schools, hospitals and power networks.
- £5.4 billion more for the NHS and health service, and this writes the cheque for 50,000 more nurses and 50 million more GP surgery appointments per year. The Government has already taken steps to enshrine into law the cash boost of £33.9 billion for the NHS by 2024. But this Budget goes further by investing £5.4 billon during this Parliament to support the recruitment, retraining, and retaining of 50,000 more nurses. This includes a new nursing maintenance grant for all nursing students.
- A further increase of the Business Rates retail discount to 100% for 2020-21. The relief will also be expanded to the leisure and hospitality sectors. These temporary measures, taken together with existing Small Business Rates Relief, mean that around 900,000 properties, or 45% of all properties in England, will receive full business rates relief in 2020-21.
- A further increase of the Business Rates discount for pubs with a rateable value below £100,000 for one year from April. This discount will be increased from £1,000 to £5,000.
- A freeze on duty rates on beer, spirits, wine and cider. This will be only the second time in almost 20 years a Government has frozen all these duties.
- A freeze to fuel duty for the tenth year in a row, saving the average car driver a cumulative £1,200.
- Boosts to recycling and reducing plastic pollution by introducing a new plastic packaging tax. From April 2022, the plastic packaging tax will incentivise the use of recycled plastic and help reduce the scourge of plastic waste. The rate will be set at £200 per tonne of plastic packaging that contains less than 30 per cent recycled plastic.
- A new entitlement to Neonatal Leave and Pay to support parents with the stress and anxiety of having a baby in neonatal care. This will include up to 12 weeks paid leave.
- £9.5 billion for the Affordable Homes Programme, helping to prevent homelessness, while helping people get on the housing ladder. This takes the total funding to £12.2 billion from 2021-22, and this will be the largest cash investment in affordable housing in a decade.
- An additional £1 billion fund to remove unsafe cladding.
- Help for Universal Credit claimants to repay debts in a more manageable way. This reduces the maximum rate at which deductions can be made from a UC award from 30 per cent to 25 per cent and also gives claimants 24 months to repay advances. This will benefit 46 per cent of claimants who will see an average increase to their annual income of £324.
- Increases in public R&D investment to £22 billion per year by 2024-25. This investment is the largest and fastest ever expansion in support of research and innovation, taking direct support for R&D to 0.8 per cent of GDP and placing the UK ahead of the USA, Japan, France and China.
- More investment in flood and coastal defence, with an increase to £5.2 billion over six years. This will protect 336,000 homes and the Environment Agency will be given £120 million to repair assets damaged by recent floods.
Further details on the Budget, including details of all the announcements, can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/budget-2020