Alok Sharma, the Member of Parliament for Reading West, has welcomed the Autumn Budget delivered today by Chancellor Philip Hammond.

Alok Sharma said: “This is a fiscally responsible Budget which helps individuals and families with the cost of living, businesses to invest and grow, provides more money for the NHS and a big boost for home building and home ownership, particularly for first time buyers.”

Alok added: “As Housing Minister, I am delighted that the government will commit a total of at least £44 billion in support for housing, through capital funding, loans and guarantees, over the next five years and we have a target of delivering 300,000 homes per year by the middle of the next decade. The feedback I have already received demonstrates that this housing package, which delivers more help for SME builders, more infrastructure funding and the abolition of stamp duty for purchases up to £300,000 for first time buyers, is really welcomed.”

Some of the measures in the Budget include:

Supporting families in their everyday lives

·         Helping people to keep more of what they earn. From April 2018, the personal allowance will rise to £11,850, meaning the typical basic rate tax payer will be £1,075 a year better off compared to 2010. We will also raise the higher rate to £46,350

·         Boosting incomes with the National Living Wage. From April 2018, the National Living Wage will rise by 4.4 per cent to £7.83, meaning full-time workers are £2,000 better off since it was introduced. The National Minimum Wage rate for young people will rise by around 5 per cent – the largest increase in youth rates in ten years

·         Cutting fuel duty for millions of hardworking people. We will cancel the fuel duty rise scheduled for April – keeping it frozen for the eighth consecutive year meaning the average car driver is £850 better off since 2010

·         Helping young people with the cost of travel. Extending discounted rail travel with a new 26–30 rail card, giving 4.5 million more young people a third off their rail fares


Investing more in our NHS

·         We are investing more money in our NHS - An additional £2.8 billion of funding to 2019-20, including £350 million for this winter and £1.6 billion next year. And we will deliver another £10 billion in capital to upgrade buildings and facilities, ensuring our NHS is fit for the future. We will also provide additional funding for agreed nurses pay rises so that patient services are protected


Building the homes our young people need

·         Over one million homes have been built since 2010 and housebuilding it at its highest level (there were 217,000 net new home additions in 2016/17) since the crash but housing remains unaffordable for many, so the government is committing to deliver an average of 300,000 homes per year by the middle of the next decade

·         Investing an additional £15 billion for housebuilding – taking the total this Parliament to £44 billion. We will invest £2.7 billion to double the housing infrastructure fund, £1.7 billion to unlock small and strategic sites, £400 million on estate regeneration, £1.5 billion to support SME builders, and provide £8 billion on guarantees – committing a total of £44 billion over the next five years

·         Abolishing stamp duty for over 80 per cent of first time buyers. We have abolished SDLT altogether for all first time buyer purchases up to £300,000. The exemption will also be available to properties up to £500,000, but will stop thereafter. This means an effective discount of up to £5,000 for a property of £500,000

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