This week I voted for the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Budget, which included cuts to income tax, backing for the high street and support with the cost of living.
The Budget fulfils a manifesto promise on reducing income tax – and does so a year early.
From April 2019, the tax-free Personal Allowance will increase to £12,500 one year early, saving a typical basic rate taxpayer £130 compared to 2018-19 and more than £1,200 since 2010-11.
An additional £1 billion of funding will see support for local authorities with £650 million for social care, £84 million for children’s social care programmes over five years and £420 million to tackle potholes this year.
Crawley residents on the National Living Wage will see an almost 5 per cent pay rise, with the NLW increasing from £7.83 to £8.21. This will benefit around 2.4 million workers and delivers a £690 annual pay rise to a full-time employee, taking the total annual pay rise since its introduction to £2,750.
Small retail businesses will see business rates bills slashed by a third for two years from April 2019, saving them over £900 million. High streets will benefit from £675 million to improve transport links, re-develop empty shops as homes and offices, and restore and re-use old and historic properties.
Fuel duty is being frozen for the ninth year, saving the average car driver a cumulative £1,000 since 2010. A further year’s freeze on beer, cider and spirits duty saves 2 pence on a pint of beer and 30 pence on a bottle of Scotch or gin.
The need for financial discipline remains. This Government’s balanced approach to the economy while getting debt down, or Jeremy Corbyn’s programme of irresponsibility which would cost some £3,500 per household per year. This is our nation’s choice.
Henry Smith MP
Henry Smith: Christmas Card Competition a great success
This year, I once again launched my annual Crawley Christmas card competition, writing to every primary school in town inviting local pupils to submit a design to adorn my official MP Christmas card.
Whenever I visit Crawley schools it’s always fantastic to see the range of artworks on display, and this wonderful quality has been shown again in the entries I’ve received in this year’s card competition.
It’s clear that the Christmas spirit is alive and well in Crawley! The entries have really captured the feeling and spirit of the festive season; from vivid drawings of Father Christmas and his sleigh, to Christmas trees and snowmen.
It was extremely difficult to select a winner and the runners-up, and I look forward to congratulating them in person to thank them for their efforts in the coming weeks.
As a token of my gratitude I’ll be taking the winner, runners-up and their families on a personal tour of the Houses of Parliament.
I would like to thank every child that took the time to send me their card design, and wish them and their families a very Merry Christmas!
Henry Smith MP