The Autumn Statement last month focused on driving economic growth, announcing measures that will protect pensioners, boost our small local businesses, help with the cost of living and reward hard work.
We have only been able to introduce such measures because of the judicious and long-sighted decisions this Government has taken since last October. The economy is 1.8 percent larger than it was pre-Covid, the national debt is falling faster than anticipated, and inflation has halved over the last year.
A standout measure from the statement was the reduction of national insurance by 2% for over 27 million people. For the average worker earning £35,000 a year in our constituency, that means a £450 tax cut. Helping residents keep more of their hard-earned money.
Come April, we are delivering the largest ever cash increase to the National Living Wage, boosting it to £11.44 an hour. That is a 9.8% increase, benefiting 2.7 million workers by an average £1,800 a year. The state pension will also see an 8.5% increase in accordance with our Triple Lock policy - supporting those in our communities who have contributed to our economy throughout their lives.
I welcomed the support announced for our small local businesses – the pubs, B&Bs (like Piglets in our constituency voted the best in the East of England!), hotels, restaurants and more – as the statement confirmed cutting business taxes and extending the retail and hospitality leisure relief.
As Secretary of State for Business and Trade, I know how vital this support is, alongside the freezing of the small business rates multiplier. These cuts, and the freeze on alcohol duties announced will provide a well-deserved pre-Christmas boost for publicans, hoteliers, and high street shop owners, and shows a real vote of confidence in the small and medium businesses who are the backbone of our local economy.
Given cost of living pressures, we continue to help those who need it most, by increasing all working age benefits in full by 6.7 per cent, boosting benefit payments for those who receive Universal Credit. The Government also announced the increase of the Local Housing Allowance - something that will certainly benefit residents who have difficulty finding affordable rental properties.
This Conservative Government is making progress in tackling the immediate pressures in the economy. The statement for growth is a result of difficult decisions the Government have taken, meaning we are now able to cut taxes for businesses and people, to boost economic growth in our constituency and across the country.