Today the Chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, announced the Autumn Statement with a package of personal tax cuts, increases to the living wage and state pension, and business friendly policies that will create economic growth.
Significantly, the Chancellor announced a reduction in National Insurance from 12% to 10% which will save working constituents 100s of pounds per year. Reducing tax on work means more people in work, keeping more of what they earn. In addition, the living wage will be increased to £11.44 along with policies to ensure that it always pays more to be in work than not while ensuring that we are protecting those who genuinely cannot work by uprating benefits by 6.7%.
The Treasury has listened to MPs like me who have strongly argued for maintaining the triple lock on the state pension in full. Increasing state pensions by 8.5% - to £221 per week - will ensure pensioners receive the above inflation rise in income they need and deserve – particularly the 1 million pensioners whose sole income is from the State.
I am delighted that the Budget announced a Level 3 devolution deal for Greater Lincolnshire. We have seen over the last few years that areas with directly elected mayors have had an advantage in driving development and attracting investment. While there are some formalities to go through, we can expect to elect the first mayor for Greater Lincolnshire in May 2025. This will enable Lincolnshire to reclaim more decision-making powers from Whitehall, putting them back in the hands of local communities.
It will be warmly welcomed that the Chancellor announced that the freeport tax benefits will be extended to 2031 as well as news of a £150 million Investment Opportunity Fund. Freeports have become a key element of the levelling up agenda, channelling investment into areas like ours, providing high-skilled, well-paid jobs to local people. The Humber Freeport is attracting significant investment and this extension will enable potential investors to have confidence in a lasting business-friendly environment allowing them to make long-term investment decisions which will benefit the local community.
The economy has turned a corner and I am delighted that people up and down the country will see fruit following the difficult decisions the government has previously had to make. This Autumn Statement has set the tone for lower personal taxation, a better business environment and security for the retired and out of work.