Westminster Diary - Budget

At the end of March The Chancellor presented this year’s budget. People will remember that immediately after the General Election last year the Government implemented an Emergency Budget having discovered the true state of the nation’s finances. The recent budget stuck to the plans previously set out and focussed on reforming the economy to ensure jobs and growth for the future.

Britain is coming out of the deepest recession since the 1930s and has the largest deficit in the G20; currently around £146 billion. £120 million a day is spent on debt interest alone and £1 in every £4 spent by the Government is borrowed. Left unattended our national debt would ruin the country. The challenge for the Government is to ensure that the deficit is tackled, so that our children are not lumbered with the bill for our inability to live within our means, but also that the difficult decisions which must be taken do not disadvantage people unfairly. 

The Government knows that times are not easy for families and the Budget included measures to help us all get through these tough times. Some people have commented that the 1p per litre cut in fuel duty was not enough, but it must be remembered that there was also a delay in April’s planned rise in duty which means that fuel is now 6p cheaper than it would have been under Labour. In order to achieve this the Government put taxes up for the oil companies when the oil price is high to create a Fair Fuel Stabilizer.

Growth, manufacturing and jobs were at the heart of the 2011 budget. Corporation tax is being cut to the lowest rate in the G7, the small business rate relief holiday is being extended, regulation is being cut and there will be an extra 250,000 apprenticeship places available. The Chancellor has also implemented real increases to personal tax allowances. This will bring over 1m people out of tax altogether and no-one shall be pushed into the higher tax band as a result of the Budget either.

The Government has to stick to its plan. Without it we will face financial ruin. It is simply unacceptable to spend more on our debt than we do on schools or defence. We have to face the reality of the situation we are in and pull together to get our country back on its feet whilst ensuring that the burden is shared out equally. I know that this budget is another step in the right direction as the Government looks to achieve both those aims.