So after weeks of speculation we now know for sure the details of George Osborne’s budget.
The number one issue for many in our region, in the East we pay some of the highest fuel prices in the whole of Europe and research by the Countryside Alliance says fuel costs on average 4p more in rural areas. Despite a campaign led by Harlow MP Robert Halfon there was no joy for motorists today. The Chancellor ruled out postponing or cancelling the planned 3p rise due to come in this August. The cost of cancelling that rise would have been about £1.5 billion. Instead George Osborne spoke about what the Government have already done to help motorists over the past year.
As predicted the Chancellor announced a change in his proposals for child benefit. The benefit will be tapered out from households where somebody earns more than £50,000. Those with an earner above £60,000 won’t receive it from next year. It's likely this move will please MPs like Peterborough’s Stewart Jackson who has said he couldn’t have supported the proposals as they were before.
The Chancellor announced £100 million to improve accommodation for our armed forces. That’s a move welcomed by Colchester MP Sir Bob Russell who has campaigned for better housing in the garrison town he represents. George Osborne also said the welfare grant for armed forces families will be doubled and the rate of council tax relief will be doubled as well. South West Norfolk MP Liz Truss, whose constituency includes RAF Marham, says its right to recognise the work done by service personnel and she’s sure the men and women at RAF Marham will be pleased.
As predicted the Chancellor cut the 50p top rate of tax to 45p from April 2013. It’s a move that will be welcomed by many Conservative MPs in the East who have said it will be good for business for the region. And at the other end of tax scale George Osborne raised the personal tax allowance, the amount you can earn before paying tax to £9,205. The Treasury say that will benefit 2.2 million people in the East of England and will lift an extra 75,000 out of paying income tax altogether. It’s a Liberal Democrat policy and today’s announcement was welcomed by Cambridge MP Julian Huppert who describes it as “excellent”. Conservative MPs are also pleased, Great Yarmouth MP Brandon Lewis says its “ a step forward for hard working families”
– Labour's MEP for the East of England, Richard Howitt
"By not being prepared to change course on his economic plan, a tax break for people earning over £150,000 means even more redundancies amongst health workers and teachers, more cutbacks for services vital to elderly and disabled people, even more of the street lights being switched off."
And 2 MPs from our region got exactly what they wanted in the Budget.
Ipswich MP Ben Gummer’s idea of a personal tax statement was described as an “excellent idea” by the Chancellor and will be adopted by the Government. The Ipswich MP believes it’s a move that will get taxpayers more interested in politics when they see exactly what the Government is spending their money on.
And West Suffolk MP Matthew Hancock says he’s delighted the Chancellor announced a new tax regime on gambling which will include closing a loophole on offshore gambling companies. Matthew Hancock , who’s a former advisor to George Osborne, says it will mean bets are taxed where they are placed rather than where the betting company are based. He says it will hugely benefit the racing industry in Newmarket in his constituency.