Bud­get boost for peo­ple of the West

Western Daily Press (Saturday) - - Opinion -

THE Bud­get of­fered plenty of good news and en­cour­age­ment for peo­ple and busi­nesses in the West.

The econ­omy is in a healthy po­si­tion, with growth for 2019 re­vised up­wards, em­ploy­ment set to in­crease by 800,000 by 2023 and wages fore­cast to rise above in­fla­tion in each of the next five years.

This vin­di­cates the Gov­ern­ment’s bal­anced ap­proach to the econ­omy and means we are in a strong po­si­tion to boost our vi­tal pub­lic ser­vices and help peo­ple im­me­di­ately with the cost of liv­ing.

In our re­gion, the big­gest sin­gle an­nounce­ment was the £23 mil­lion in­vest­ment in trans­port projects in the West of Eng­land, which will help to boost pro­duc­tiv­ity and spread pros­per­ity.

Per­haps the most strik­ing an­nounce­ment na­tion­ally was the de­ci­sion to cut in­come tax a year early, in spring 2019, en­abling mil­lions of peo­ple to keep more of what they earn.

I was also pleased to see the in­crease in the Na­tional Liv­ing

Wage, the freez­ing of fuel duty and the ad­di­tional £1.7 bil­lion a year to help work­ing fam­i­lies on Uni­ver­sal Credit, not to men­tion the ex­tra

£20.5 bil­lion for the NHS.

An­other stand-out was the de­ci­sion to cut busi­ness rates for smaller retailers by a third, pro­vid­ing a wel­come boost to our high streets.

With the econ­omy re­cov­er­ing well fol­low­ing Labour’s mis­man­age­ment be­fore 2010, it’s im­por­tant we main­tain the dis­ci­pline and avoid the prospect of Jeremy Cor­byn tak­ing us back to square one by raising taxes to the high­est level in peace­time his­tory and send­ing debt soar­ing.

Peter Booth, chair­man South West Con­ser­va­tives

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