Delivering his first Budget as Chancellor and the last spring budget, the Chancellor Phillip Hammond today outlined an economic plan to prepare Britain for a stronger and fairer future and that will help Britain make the most of the opportunities that lie ahead as we leave the European Union.
It’s a Budget that supports ordinary working families in their aspirations for a better life for themselves and their children. Last year the Conservatives delivered a pay rise to a million of the lowest paid with the National Living Wage. In April, the Living Wage will rise again to £7.50 – an income boost of over £500 for a full-time worker this year. The personal allowance will rise for the seventh year in a row, benefitting 29 million people and meaning a typical basic rate taxpayer will pay a full £1,000 less income tax than in 2010. But more needs to be done to make ends meet. That’s why we are rolling out our Tax-Free Childcare policy worth £2,000 per child up to the age of 12 and doubling the free childcare amount for working parents with three or four-year-olds. Together, these are worth up to £5,000 a year.
A Budget that ensures that people have the skills that they need to succeed in a global Britain. We have already started this work with 2.4 million apprenticeship starts in the last parliament and 3 million more by 2020. Today, this Government went further, announcing the most ambitious post-16 education reforms since A-levels were introduced 70 years ago. We will provide funding to increase the training for 16-19-year-old further education students by over 50%, with 15 new technical routes and a work placement for every student. This additional £500 million a year investment in our 16-19-year-olds, will give them the technical skills they need to succeed in the world of work, and give businesses the edge they need to compete in a new, global Britain.
It’s a Budget that provides help and support to our NHS and social care system. The NHS binds us together as a country. This budget continues to support our health service by providing new funding to support our social care system – worth £2 billion to social care in England over the next three years.
And it keeps our economy strong – preparing for our future outside the European Union. When we came into Government, we were borrowing £1 in every £5 we spent. This year it is set to be £1 in every £15. We remain committed to returning the country to living within its means.
The future looks bright for Britain post-Brexit. In 2016 the UK economy was the second-fastest growing economy in the G7. The OBR have upgraded their growth forecasts for 2017 from 1.4% to 2%, unemployment continues to fall with a further 650,000 people expected to be in employment by 2021 and wages continue to rise in real terms.
So, as we prepare for negotiations with the European Union, we remain robust at the core.
Other key budget announcements include:
- £435 million for firms affected by the business rate re-evaluation
- Fuel duty frozen for a further year
- £16m investment 5G mobile technology
- 1,000 new PhD places and fellowships in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects
- Annual tax-free limit on investments into all ISAs is to increase from £15,240 (2016/17) to £20,000 from 6 April 2017