How the Budget will help Orpington
One year ago, our country was in the grip of the biggest recession in 300 years. Today, we are recovering quickly, with unemployment falling and economic growth returning.
However, there is no doubt that the road to recovery will be long and bumpy. We have seen problems in the global supply chain and the pandemic is still raging in many parts of the world. The Chancellor's Autumn Budget will support families and businesses through this turbulence and help our nation build back better.
The Budget included many measures to strengthen our public finances, help people meet the cost of living, and deliver stronger public services. But I would like to focus on a few measures that I think will help Orpington's recovery.
Retail, hospitality and leisure businesses can claim a 50 per cent discount on their business rate bills, up to £110,000 per business. That means that 90 per cent of pubs, gyms, cinemas, restaurants and hotels will see their business rates halved, saving them £7 billion.
The Chancellor has also frozen business rates which itself is a tax cut worth £4.6 billion. Combined, this is the biggest cut to business rates in thirty years - and is a welcome boost to Orpington's high street.
The National Living Wage will increase to £9.50 per hour, providing an annual salary increase of £1,000 for more than 2 million people. The Universal Credit taper rate will be reduced to give the lowest-income families in the country a tax cut worth £2.2 billion as they return to work.
Fuel duty will be frozen for the twelfth year in a row, providing motorists with a £1.5 billion tax cut. Beer duty will be cut, saving British pubs £100 million next year and cutting the cost of a pint by 3 pence. All alcohol duties will be frozen for the third year in a row, saving families £500 million a year.
Finally, we are investing in public services to deliver on our manifesto promises. The NHS budget will increase by £44 billion to tackle the Covid backlog of cases and ensure patients get the quality of care they deserve. Schools will receive £18.7 billion by 2024, worth over £1,500 per pupil, to deliver quality education and help children catch up after the pandemic disrupted their learning.
I welcome the Chancellor's commitment to getting public debt falling by 2024. The pandemic has left us with the highest public borrowing figures since the Second World War, increasing our national debt to over £2.2 trillion. In the coming years, we will need to bring this down to strengthen our public finances and avoid passing on debt to the next generation.
A strong recovery will be vital in cutting our national debt. In welcome news, the Government's plan is working. Our economy is expected to return to pre-pandemic levels in January, unemployment is falling, and wages are rising. This Budget will help cement that recovery, and I am confident its measures will help families and businesses across Orpington.