Local MP, Caroline Dinenage has welcomed the Chancellor’s 2017 Budget, which prioritised stabilising and strengthening the UK’s economy as we leave the EU, while meeting the Government’s commitment to build a country that works for everyone.

Provisions in the Budget included:

Supporting the NHS and Social Care: An additional £2 billion funding will be made available to support social care in England over the next three years. Alongside that, £100 million will be made available immediately for up to 100 new triage projects at A&E in English hospitals, in time for next winter. This stands alongside the Government’s commitment to delivering a £10 billion real terms increase in annual NHS funding by 2020.

Backing business: A £435 million package will support businesses coming out of Small Business Relief and cap their increases at £50 per month in 2017-18; all pubs with a Rateable Value of under £100,000 will see a £1,000 discount on their 2017 Business Rates bill; and local authorities will receive a further £300 million to deliver discretionary relief to target hard revaluation cases in their local areas.

Helping working families: The National Living Wage will rise to £7.50 in April, representing an income boost of £500 for a full time worker this year, and the personal allowance will rise for the seventh year in a row to £11,500 this April. Free childcare for working parents will be doubled, rising to 30 hours per week, supporting around 390,000 working parents with the cost of childcare, saving parents using the full entitlement around £5,000 per year.

Promoting skills: The introduction of T-levels will provide a clearer system of technical qualifications recognised by employers with clear routes into work. Funding will also be made available for a further 110 new free schools, on top of the current commitment of 500, alongside an additional £216 million over the next three years to look after existing schools, taking total investment in school condition to well over £10 billion in this Parliament. £40 million will be invested in helping adults re-train and up-skill throughout their lives.

Commenting, Caroline said:

“I’m really pleased that the Chancellor has delivered a budget that balances the need to invest in key services, such as the NHS and Social Care, whilst recognising the value of fiscal restraint. Forecasts released by the Office for Budget Responsibility are encouraging - the UK economy is forecast to grow by 2 per cent in 2017, and the deficit is forecast to fall to 0.7 per cent in 2020-21. This would be the lowest it’s been in over two decades. But we mustn’t be complacent, and I’m glad that the Budget takes a sensible approach as the UK prepares to withdraw from the EU.”