MP for Berwick Anne-Marie Trevelyan has welcomed Wednesday’s Budget, highlighting the introduction of the ‘national living wage’, an increase in the personal tax-free allowance and measures for businesses.
She said it will ‘support those on low incomes, allow people to keep more of their hard-earned money and help businesses grow’ and described it as ‘a budget that has clear and tangible benefits for the people living in Berwick and north Northumberland’.
One of the surprise announcements was the introduction of a ‘national living wage’ for all working people aged 25 and over, which will start next April at £7.20 an hour and is expected to reach £9 by 2020. Mrs Trevelyan said: “The new national living wage is great news for those on low wages and struggling to make ends meet, it gives two-and-a-half million people a direct pay rise and those currently on the minimum wage will see their pay increase by over a third within four years.”
The personal tax-free allowance will be increased, next year, to £11,000. Mrs Trevelyan said: “I am delighted that this Government has made good its promise to allow people to keep more of their hard-earned money. This rise in the personal allowance will directly benefit 31,839 of my constituents who will pay less income tax as a result and an additional 637 will be taken out of paying tax altogether.”
She also spoke in favour of the changes to business taxes – corporation tax will be cut to 18 per cent and the employment allowance is to be extended to £3,000, saying: “These measures will help all those small businesses in north Northumberland, run by talented and enterprising individuals, who want to grow and take on more staff. The increase in the employment allowance will mean that a business will be able to employ four people full-time on the new national living wage and pay no national insurance at all.”
Mrs Trevelyan also welcomed the Government’s pledge to fund three million more apprenticeships. “I am a huge fan of apprenticeships schemes, as someone who has just employed a young person full-time on to my staff who started as an apprentice. This Government’s commitment to creating more apprentices is fantastic news for businesses, our young people and the future economy.”
She also endorsed the Government’s commitment to meeting the NATO pledge of spending two per cent of national income on defence each year.
However, critics will point out that there will also be plenty of people impacted by the cuts to welfare announced by the Chancellor, which will see working-age benefits frozen for four years from 2016/17, the household benefit cap reduced to £20,000 and child tax credit limited to two children for those born from April 2017.
Meanwhile, the Office for Budget Responsibility has said that the ‘national living wage’ will result in the loss of 60,000 jobs due to increased costs for businesses and the Institute for Fiscal Studies has said the poor will lose out more than the rich from the ‘regressive’ Budget.