We can recognise the hard work of the Chancellor and Prime Minister in taking difficult decisions for the health and prosperity of our nation in the long term. In the past year, we have seen inflation drop substantially, the economy back on the right track and national debt being reduced.
Thanks to this stability, we are able to welcome positive steps focusing on growing our economy and tackling the cost of living.
𝗧𝗮𝘅 𝗖𝘂𝘁𝘀 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗪𝗮𝗴𝗲 𝗚𝗿𝗼𝘄𝘁𝗵:
National Insurance has been cut from 12% to 10%, tax for the self-employed has been simplified massively and the National Living Wage has been increased by almost 10%. The pension triple lock has been further secured, meaning the basic state pension will be £3,750 higher than it was in 2010.
𝗕𝗲𝗻𝗲𝗳𝗶𝘁𝘀 𝗨𝗽𝗿𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗖𝗼𝘀𝘁 𝗼𝗳 𝗟𝗶𝘃𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗦𝘂𝗽𝗽𝗼𝗿𝘁:
Citizens Advice Arun & Chichester shared urgent concerns for Uprating benefits and the impact of the ongoing cost of living crisis on those most at risk. They will join me in welcoming the Chancellor's announcement that Local Housing Allowance has been increased, working age benefits and Universal Credit will be increased by an average of £470 a year, and further Cost of Living Payments will be provided to more than 22 million households this coming Winter.
𝗔𝗹𝗰𝗼𝗵𝗼𝗹 𝗗𝘂𝘁𝘆 𝗖𝘂𝘁:
We can welcome the cut to alcohol duty until August 2024. I hope that local companies including Slake Spirits and Worthing Gin will join me in welcoming this; the many vineyard and wine producers across Sussex as part of the world-leading English Sparkling Wine industry will welcome this; scotch whisky producers will welcome this. We anticipate further announcements in the Spring Budget setting out further support for this critical industry and the wider hospitality sector.
𝗦𝗘𝗡𝗗 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗘𝗱𝘂𝗰𝗮𝘁𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗙𝘂𝗻𝗱𝗶𝗻𝗴:
I joined with several colleagues in writing to the Chancellor to urge for significant funding to halt the rising crisis in special needs education provision. Without substantial extra funding and bold policy changes, the situation will only deteriorate further. Demand and expectation around SEND support are far outweighing the funding and capacity available something we are acutely aware of in Worthing and Arun.
Investment is also needed in Religious Education and providing a national curriculum to recognise the breadth and strength of our multicultural society. Hope that further announcements will follow swiftly regarding a wider education funding strategy in close conjunction with the Department for Education.
𝗙𝗿𝗼𝘇𝗲𝗻 𝗣𝗲𝗻𝘀𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗦𝗰𝗮𝗻𝗱𝗮𝗹:
Following the Chancellor's statement, I gave words of encouragement in welcoming these positive actions. I urged the Chancellor to pay attention in time to the injustice faced by over 500,000 British pensioners living abroad. The 'Frozen Pension' scandal must be solved.
Ann Puckridge, a 98-year-old pensioner born five years before the Chancellor's own father, served in intelligence in the Navy, the Army and the RAF during the war and retired to Calgary, Canada, on a regular pension of £72 at the turn of the millennia. That pension remains exactly £72 rather than the £156 anyone else would get following annual inflation adjustments. It is an injustice and it needs attention.