Yesterday afternoon, the Chancellor delivered his final Autumn Statement of this Parliament. It was a statement to benefit workers and families and to address concerns about immigration for benefits. The Autumn Statement was demonstrated that the Conservative Party were pro-business but not at the cost of normal people and that we expect the richest people and businesses in the UK to pay more to support the UK economy.
The policy change that received the most attention was the change to Stamp Duty. Stamp duty is the tax that people pay when buying a home. Osborne announced measures that reform the system so that 98% of homebuyers now have to pay less stamp duty. Buyers of property up to £937,000 will benefit. However, buyers of houses costing over £1million will have to pay thousands more. This was Osborne’s fairer and more sensible answer to Miliband’s proposed “Mansion Tax”. People buying expensive houses will pay more – not people who bought houses a long time ago that happen to have become worth more in time.
The Chancellor took great pleasure in being able to announce that the UK is the fastest growing economy in the G7, unemployment continues to fall and that the deficit has halved since 2010. 500,000 new jobs have been created this year alone and we have seen unemployment in Dulwich & West Norwood fall by a third with youth unemployment falling by half! 85% of new jobs are full time.
Osborne continued with his work to reward savers and pensioners by announcing new measures that would allow an increase in the amount people can save tax-free in their ISAs as well as new measures that allow spouses to inherit ISAs tax-free.
The Chancellor also announced an increase in the tax-free allowance to £10,600 and a rise in the higher rate tax threshold meaning since 2010 people have an extra £705 per year to spend. This Government’s actions mean 26 million people have been taken out of paying income tax! People will also be pleased that Osborne announced a further 1 year freeze in fuel duty and from next year, Air fuel duty will be scrapped for under 12s and scrapped for under 16s from the year after, meaning families in Dulwich & West Norwood will be able to have cheaper holidays.
Osborne introduced measures to close some of the loopholes exploited by big banks and multi-national corporations – such as a 25% tax on profits generated by MNCs that are shifted out of the UK, which should raise £1billion over five years. This is really positive as it means the tax burden on normal people in Dulwich & West Norwood will fall and will be made up by taxing profits of companies who are avoiding tax right now.
Banks were also used to fund the NHS – fines from banks will be used to fund an extra £2billion a year for the NHS over the next 5 years. In Southwark, we are already seeing the benefits of the Government’s pledge to do its best for the NHS as we have had an extra £1 million to fund over 70,000 more GP appointments. I am really pleased that there will be even more funding for the NHS every year until 2020.
In a move to address people’s concerns regarding immigration for benefits, Osborne announced that migrants would lose their benefits if they had “no prospect” of work after six weeks. In a bid to always make work pay, working age benefits will be frozen for a further two years. This is part of the Government’s work to ensure that welfare is always available for those who need it, but that work pays more. Young people in Dulwich and West Norwood will really benefit from changes to National Insurance which makes it advantageous for businesses to hire apprentices.
This Autumn statement was designed to reward people who work hard and want to be able to choose how to spend their money.
The increase in the tax threshold means 24.4 million people will have at least £120 more next year than they do this year and will make it far easier for people in Dulwich & West Norwood to buy their own home – something that has been raised with me on the doorstep as a matter of concern for families and young professionals.
Overall, the Autumn statement was very well received and is probably the Chancellor’s best yet. I am pleased that so many steps have been taken to reward hard-working people, to ensure that businesses pay their fair share and mostly to make sure people have more money in their pockets.