Last year’s Emergency Budget was about rescuing the nation’s finances and paying for Labour’s mistakes. This Budget was about sticking to the plan and reforming the economy to ensure jobs and growth.
This plan has been backed the IMF, OECD and every major business body in Britain. We have to put the nation’s finances back on track. We cannot go on spending more on debt interest than we do on schools or defence.
We have taken steps to help families, such as immediately cutting fuel duty and introducing a fuel stabiliser, raising the personal allowance and freezing air passenger duty. Money for local councils will ensure that council tax is frozen this year. We are creating an additional 50,000 apprenticeships and 100,000 work experience places to help young people.
This is building on previous steps we’ve taken, including above inflation rises in child tax credits, restoring the earnings link for pensions, and keeping the free TV licence and bus pass for the elderly, whilst protecting the winter fuel allowance.
We are also looking to the future and seeking to reform the economy to encourage sustainable growth. We have announced an additional 1p cut in corporation tax now, with further cuts to come so that corporation tax will be 23% in 2014. We are also providing incentives for entrepreneurs, extending the small business rate relief and creating 21 new Enterprise Zones. We have announced funding for new science facilities and tax credits for small business and research and development. We are also cutting regulations that hold up businesses, reforming the planning system.
The Budget has been supported by the CBI, who believe it will make it clear that the UK is open for business. The Institute of Directors welcomed the supply side measures. The British Chambers of Commerce were pleased with the prioritisation of business growth and private sector expansion, as well as the help for small businesses. The manufacturers’ organisation the EEF saw the Chancellor putting manufacturing at the heart of the economy, and thanked the chancellor for removing barriers to growth, investment and job creation.
Even more significantly, WPP, the marketing and services group, have suggested that they will move their tax domicile back to the UK, as a result of these reforms.
Motoring groups have welcomed the reduction on fuel duty, and charities groups are pleased with the new support for giving, such simplifying Gift Aid and allowing charities to thank donors.
I believe that in this Budget, the Chancellor has taken the necessary steps to help the British economy grow, whilst continuing to reduce the budget deficit left to us by the previous Labour Government. This Budget ensures that the UK stays on the same stable course, back to prosperity and growth.