Earlier today the Chancellor of the Exchequer set out the Government’s budget which demonstrated the resilience of the British economy which will see inflation starting to fall, growth rising and debt falling which will benefit all the residents of Aldridge-Brownhills.
A central plank of the budget was to extend 30 hours of childcare a week for working parents of children from 9 months to 4 years of age. At the same time there will also be additional support for people receiving Universal Credit who will benefit from having support for upfront childcare costs. These two specific measures will help remove barriers to work for large numbers of parents and will give the economy a large injection of economic growth.
I was pleased that we are giving householders greater certainty on their energy bills by extending the Energy Price Guarantee at £2,500 for a further 3 months. For the thirteenth year in a row there will be another freeze in fuel duty, a campaign I recently supported. This will save families money at the pumps and combined with more money for Walsall Council to fill potholes this will be welcomed by all motorists.
The Chancellor’s decision to give £30 million to support our veterans helps honour our commitment to those who have served on behalf of our country. An additional £10 million to the third sector to help address suicide support alongside a further £100 million to support local charities and organisations are all measures to be applauded.
At the heart of the budget was a new landmark devolution deal which will deliver the West Midlands under the stewardship of Mayor Andy Street significant new powers and resources.
The new deal will offer £500 million extra for housing. Importantly for residents across Aldridge-Brownhills it also gives greater flexibility to undertake brownfield regeneration as well new powers to deliver affordable housing allowing us to get the right homes in the right places and protect our precious Green Belt.
A further funding commitment for transport infrastructure will hopefully keep our ambition for a station with Aldridge on track. Additional financial powers allowing the retention of business rates for the next 10 years will give the region an estimated further £45 million a year of economic fire power.
The deal also offers the West Midlands further influence over key policy areas such as skills, careers, employment support and digital inclusion. This represents a major step forward for the West Midlands in allowing more freedom and flexibility to support people into work, attain better skills and improve our quality of life.
As a Government we remain focused on our key priority to drive greater levels of growth throughout the British economy and today we remain steadfast in delivering a plan for growth for the benefit of all the hard working families across Aldridge-Brownhills.