Last week, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rt Hon George Osborne MP, delivered his Budget Statement to the House of Commons. This Budget will secure the prosperity of future generations, focussing on the long term, and ensuring that the country is ready for the challenges facing the global economy.
Eight years ago, Britain was among the worst prepared for the financial crisis. Today, we are among the best prepared to face a cocktail of risks in the global economy. The hard work of fixing our economy is paying off, and in these turbulent times, the independent Office of Budget Responsibility expects the British economy to grow faster than any other developed nation.
We have once again put hardworking people first, by cutting taxes, improving schools and helping people save for the future. The tax-free personal allowance will rise to £11,500 in 2017, lowering the tax bill of 31 million people. The typical basic rate taxpayer will be more than £1,000 better off than when we came into Government six years ago. The higher rate threshold will be raised from £42,500 to £45,000, meaning half a million fewer people will pay the 40p rate tax.
We are investing in schools, introducing a new funding formula which will benefit schools in the Forest and across the county. The increased ISA limit and the new Lifetime ISA will allow the next generation to save both for a new house and for retirement, as the government tops up every £4 with an extra £1.
The Chancellor also announced that when the Severn Crossings return to public ownership in 2018, the tolls will be halved. This is very welcome news, as many people in the Forest use the bridges to commute to work, for business, and to visit family and friends.
I welcome the continued freeze of fuel duty, which has a real impact in the Forest, where for many driving is a necessity, not a choice. The freeze of beer & cider duties will also benefit our local brewers.
This is a budget which puts forward long term solutions to long term problems. It redoubles our efforts to move from a high tax, low wage economy to a low tax, high wage economy fit for the future.