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Budget gives support to vulnerable

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Chicken and beans. That was Alan Shearer’s pre-match lunch. For the Chancellor, it was a Twix and can of Sprite that gave him the boost ahead of delivering the Budget and Spending Review.

During the hour-long Budget - as a teetotaller he sipped water rather than whisky enjoyed by some of his predecessors - he set out plans to deliver a stronger economy, help with the cost of living, back innovation, skills, and growth, as well as invest significant sums in more police officers, better schools, the NHS and other public services.

He even froze beer and other duties and committed to a new reduced draught beer rate to help pubs although the keg size to qualify needs to be smaller.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak delivering his Budget. Picture: House of Commons/PA (52828956)
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak delivering his Budget. Picture: House of Commons/PA (52828956)

Particularly welcome was the support to help working families and vulnerable households. Making Universal Credit more generous will mean that some of the lowest income families keep more of their money.

A single mother of two, renting, and working full-time on the National Living Wage for instance will be better off by about £1,200 a year.

This change along with increases to work allowances represents £2 billion put into the pocket of two million low-income families and will be in place by December at the latest.

From next April, the National Living Wage will increase to £9.50 an hour. That’s a pay rise worth over £1,00 a year for a full-time worker.

And a new £65 million fund will support vulnerable renters struggling due to the impact of the pandemic. This is on top of the £500 million household support fund put in place to help with extra costs people are experiencing. Fuel duty being frozen will help people across Norfolk for whom a car is a necessity.

As well as support with the cost of living, this Budget backed the businesses who create the jobs and growth that fund our public services. Business rates is one of the top concerns of firms that I speak to so it was great news that retail, hospitality, and leisure businesses will see bills cut by 50 per cent next year.

That will help restaurants, pubs, attractions, gyms, and others hit hard by Covid. Further measures announced will support business investment, boost R&D, improve broadband, and invest significantly in people’s skills.

In the House of Commons, this week I welcomed the funding the Chancellor announced for the new hospitals programme and highlighted the compelling case for QEH to be included with a properly funded new hospital – rather than relying on unplanned emergency spending to prop its buildings up.

With growth forecast to hit 6.5 per cent this year, more people in work than pre-pandemic, and plans to get debt falling, these measures were about delivering on our manifesto commitments.

As we move forward with the recovery and a period of unprecedented and necessary government economic intervention, I support the Chancellor’s goal to reduce taxes and to reward people’s efforts.

Finally, good luck to the Linnets in the first round of the FA Cup who will be hosting BBC Football Focus ahead of the big match.

Remember – chicken and beans.

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