The Autumn Statement provides a series of measures designed to provide relief for families across Plymouth during this period of rising prices. These measures, when combined with the halving of inflation that we saw achieved on 15th November, means that finally it feels like we are turning the corner on the economy after a very testing period. I’ve worked hard to wring every pound of support out of Government; I know it has been – and remains – very challenging economically in families and businesses across Plymouth. Here’s my breakdown:
I lobbied the Chancellor to increase the Local Housing Allowance after meeting with Citizens Advice Plymouth and other stakeholders. In Plymouth Moor View, 70 percent of renters receiving housing benefits have a shortfall to the cost of their rent, with an average gap of £125.37 every month. The Chancellor has raised the LHA to cover the lower 30 percent of rents, delivering an additional £800 of support on average next year. This will help close this gap.
This is a modern, compassionate Conservative Party. The cost-of-living crisis hits the poorest in Plymouth hardest. This Budget will see 5.5m households on Universal Credit gaining £470 on average in 2024-25 – while encouraging those who can work to do so. We all want to provide a stronger and more resilient safety net for those who fall on hard times. But we also believe that the best route out of poverty is not simply throwing money at the problem, but creating opportunities for people to transform their lives through work, and those that can work should. The Government is also honouring our commitment to the triple lock for pensioners – increasing the state pension by 8.5 percent in April, worth up to £900 per year.
A nearly-10 percent rise for those on the living wage in Plymouth has been set to £11.44. At the same time, the Government is delivering the largest ever cut to National Insurance – cut from 12 to 10 percent.
I know that many constituents have struggled with their energy bills during the cost-of-living crisis. New infrastructure projects – such as Carlton Power’s plan to produce hydrogen in Plymouth’s Freeport – will help slash energy bills by up to £1,000.
The biggest business tax cut in modern British history has been set out. Business rates relief have been extended to 2025 and full expensing has been made permanent. This comes in the same week as we see £20m in Government funding secured for Plymouth’s Freeport.
Many of us have seen our local struggle during the cost-of-living crisis. The economic shocks presented by the fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic and war in Ukraine have led too many pubs and restaurants in our City to be forced to raise their prices or face closing their doors. The freeze in alcohol duty will come as a welcome relief to Plymouth’s publicans – and myself included.
While this Budget leaves borrowing lower, debt lower and keeps inflation falling, Labour would increase borrowing by £28bn a year. Labour will overpromise but they have no plan – we do. Our plan is one which delivers for working families in Plymouth.
Let me know what you think. These decisions are all a balance of competing pressures. Please get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org or 01752 876979. Surgeries can also be booked with me through these channels. Furthermore, if you would like to be notified about what I am doing here in Plymouth, including when I next write an op-ed for the Herald, please sign up to my mailing list here.