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Scott Collins South Northants Prospective Parliamentary Candidate response to the Budget Statement

March 19, 2014 8:17 PM
Originally published by East Midlands Liberal Democrats

Having listened to the budget today in full I am broadly happy with most measures although I have reservations about some measures for which I will need further clarification on details.

Scott CollinsThe Budget today has confirmed victory for the Liberal Democrats in our campaign to deliver an £800 tax cut for people on low and middle incomes across South Northamptonshire and Nationwide

Cutting income tax by £700 - by raising the tax-free allowance to £10,000 - was the top priority on the front page of the Liberal Democrat manifesto. That comes into effect next month and the Budget today has confirmed that the Liberal Democrats have now been able to go even further. The tax-free threshold will rise to £10,500 next year, giving a tax cut of £800 for 25m working people since 2010.

Liberal Democrat policy is to continue to increase the threshold in the next Parliament to £12,500.

Measures around the changes to pension equity release are to be broadly welcomed with the changes to annuity rules needing further clarification but overall offering potential to bring extra funds into the economy whilst by changing the perception of pensions as 'dead funds' may encourage more people to invest more widely in pensions at an earlier age.

I am also very pleased with the change to VAT on fuel for the Air Ambulance Service which I campaigned on a number of months ago. This will remove the discrepancy between the air ambulance and other emergency services enabling them to concentrate more funds on the essential work of the Air Ambulance Services locally and nationally.

The removal of the Alcohol Duty Escalator is to be welcomed as it will further enable Pubs and Clubs to compete better with the cheap alcohol sales in places like supermarkets which have led to many pub closures and the increase in closures in South Northamptonshire.

The Budget also includes:

  • A boost for apprenticeships - £85m to extend the Apprenticeship Grants for Employers scheme and £20m to support apprenticeships up to postgraduate level

  • A fuel duty freeze

  • Giving people control over the money they have saved in their pension pots - removing the need for people to be tied into buying annuities

  • Help for savers - reducing tax on savings for people on low incomes and increasing the levels and flexibility on ISAs

  • Help for small businesses - doubling the amount of money that companies can set off against tax for investing in new equipment to £500,000

  • Tax-free childcare worth up to £2,000 per child

  • More measures to clamp down on tax avoidance

Tax cut 2014Commenting, Liberal Democrat Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander said:

"This recovery would not be happening without the Liberal Democrats in Government.

"The Liberal Democrats are committed to building a stronger economy and a fairer society.

"The Liberal Democrats have fought for rises in the amount of money that people can earn before paying income tax right from the start of the coalition. We have already delivered an increase to £10,000 by April this year. That gives millions of tax payers a £700 tax cut.

"We've been campaigning for months to go even further and we've been successful. The personal tax-free allowance will rise to £10,500 in April 2015 which will give millions of taxpayers another £100 tax cut taking the total tax cut in 2015 to £800."

Scott added

"This is a budget that helps savers, the low paid and encourages more growth and employment opportunities via the changes in capital investment limits and the tax breaks to encourage more companies to invest in apprenticeships. Overall this budget has many socially minded strings that would not have been enacted or indeed considered had it not been for the Liberal Democrat influence in Government. Delivering items from our manifesto and working to make life fairer for all."