Yesterday the Chancellor of the Exchequer set out on behalf of the Government a Budget that does whatever it takes to support workers and businesses as we begin to Build Back Better following the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Prime Minister’s Covid-19 roadmap lays a path for us to emerge from lockdown restrictions over the course of the next few months. Whilst accepting that this is a cautious opening up, the Government have backed the roadmap with guarantees of a further 6-months support through the furlough scheme, another two rounds of the self-employed support grants and a continuation of the £20 per week uplift in Universal Credit.
The Government’s immediate priority remains stabilising our economy as we emerge from lockdown, so there will be business grant support for non-essential retailers, the hospitality industry, and the leisure sector as they begin the process of reopening to their customers. There will continue to be a business rates holiday and the hospitality and tourism sector will continue to benefit from a reduced rate of VAT at 5% until the end of September and at 12.5% until the end of March 2022.
At its heart the budget placed an emphasis on supporting jobs, extending opportunity through improving skills and widening opportunity through new apprenticeships. By increasing work coaches, launching the Kick Start scheme and extending a lifetime skills guarantee as well as investing a further £126 million in Apprentice traineeships we are demonstrating that we will invest what it takes to keep Britain working.
The budget also reaffirms our commitment to hard working families with a further increase in the National Living Wage and for the eleventh year in a row another freeze in fuel duty saving families money at the pumps once again. Equally measures to increase funding to support victims of domestic violence and veterans suffering mental health issues will be welcomed across my Aldridge-Brownhills constituency.
As a Government we remain focussed on defeating the Covid-19 pandemic, rolling out the vaccine programme and ensuring that we deliver on your priorities.
Successive budgets by this Government have always sought to balance the nation’s finances, support enterprise and level up access across the whole United Kingdom. This budget continues in that vein and I am sure that as we start the process of Building Back Better it will be a budget that delivers for all the hard-working families of Aldridge-Brownhills.