A budget for hardworking people

This was a budget for hardworking people and one that makes me incredibly proud to be a Conservative. 

The Chancellor today made three key pledges yesterday – to lower taxes, raise wages, and cut welfare. Behind these pledges are two fundamental Conservative principles: that work should always pay, that a something-for-nothing benefits culture doesn’t work and that people deserve to keep more of the money they earn. 

This is a budget that I’m pleased to take to the people of Romford; for these are the people that work hard to provide for their families and to have a good life. They don’t ask for much, except for the government to get off their backs and let them keep more of their hard earned cash. This budget therefore provides a much needed and long awaited break for so many millions of people up and down the country.

One of today’s biggest announcements was that the personal tax allowance would go up to £12,500 – taking around 1m people out of tax. This is vital for the significant proportion of people on lower incomes who straddle the divide between self-sufficiency and welfare dependency. These are the people that myself and so many other Conservative colleagues promised to fight for when we got elected.

Bolstering the Chancellor’s announcement on the personal tax allowance was a key pledge on wages. From April next year, the government will introduce a new statutory Living Wage of £7.20 per hour, which will rise to £9 by the end of the Parliament in 2020. At the heart of any increase in wages is one key idea – that if we want a society in which work pays, it must do just that - pay.

Helping people save is also a vital part of building a strong economy and strong society. In this regard, the Chancellor today had three key announcements - changes to pensions, making it easier to buy a first time home and an increase in the inheritance tax threshold.

Pending consultation, pensions will be radically altered to make them much more like ISAs: you pay in from taxed income, pay no tax when you take it out and are provided with top-ups along the way. Saving for the future is something that so many families have struggled to maintain over the last few years and I hope that this proposed reform will give people the much needed drive and incentive to put money away.

Most people save in order to buy a home- it’s a huge part of the British dream and something that makes our country very unique. In Romford we’re fortunate enough to have a high rate of home ownership, but there are still so many young families that are unable to buy that first home. Thankfully with the introduction of a Help to Buy ISA; a commitment to building more homes and rebalancing the playing field between buy-to-let and buy-to-live mortgages, we're now making it much easier for first time buyers to get on the housing ladder.

However, owning a home is not so sweet when you are faced with the prospect of being taxed heavily for leaving it to your children.  With the Chancellor’s pledge to increase the inheritance tax threshold for married couples to £1m, we’re finally dismantling that burden and giving home owners peace of mind when leaving a property to loved ones.

Above everything, this was a budget designed with hard working people at its heart. As a nation, we’ve come a long way since the dark days under Labour, and this budget makes it clear just which party is the real workers’ party!