Last week Philip Hammond presented this year’s Budget to the House of Commons. It’s one of biggest Parliamentary events of the year, and there were several important announcements which I know will be very welcome here in Solihull.
By both increasing the personal income tax allowance and raising the threshold for the higher rate, the Chancellor has helped millions of working people to take home more of their own money. There was also a big cut in business rates for small and independent shops, restaurants, pubs, and cafes – just the thing to help protect the distinct character of our high streets.
I was also delighted that the Government has frozen fuel duty for the ninth year running. This measure will not only cut costs for millions of drivers but also for every business which relies on road freight.
Since being elected to represent our town I have campaigned with MPs on both sides of the House for a fair deal for motorists and car manufacturers, and I’m going to keep pushing the Chancellor to do more to support vital technologies such as clean diesel, which is manufactured here in Solihull.
On top of that, Hammond announced £400 million in extra funding for schools. This is a boost worth £10,000 to every primary school and £50,000 to every secondary! We’re very lucky in Solihull to have so many excellent local schools, and I know that they will have no trouble putting this funds to good use.
Finally, last month the Government announced that an extra £240 million was being awarded to local councils to spend on adult social care – including over £870,000 earmarked for Solihull. This will ease pressure on local NHS services over the winter, when demand is often very acute.
Our town has an older population, and I regularly meet local residents who care for loved ones when I’m canvassing. That’s why I campaigned in Parliament for more funding – and in a recent debate Matt Hancock, the Health Secretary, congratulated me for my work in this vital area.
On another note, last week I had the pleasure of planting five new saplings in Brueton Park. They were very kindly donated to me by the Woodland Trust as part of the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy programme. I treasure Solihull’s green spaces, and hope that as these trees grow they will beautify their little corner of our community for years to come!
Originally published in the Solihull News, 09/11/18.