This week the Budget Chancellor Philip Hammond reaffirmed the Government’s commitment to drive down the deficit and deliver a resilient and robust economy.
In a Budget with a backdrop of positive economic news, he announced extra money for social care, the NHS, business rates relief, technical skills training, and scientific research. Since the EU Referendum the economy has outperformed expectations and the OBR have increased their growth forecast.
On social care, the Government will spend an extra £2 billion on top of the £7 billion already promised, put £100 million into triage at A&E departments, and facilitate the early Sustainability and Transformation Plans with £325 million of early funding. These measures should relieve some of the pressure that the NHS has been under through the winter.
More details were announced about the allocation of the Government’s £23 billion National Productivity Investment Fund too. The Chancellor unveiled £300 million of funding for more science, maths and engineering PhDs and £270 million for disruptive technologies.
The Budget also held £500 million for the roll out of new technical T-Levels which will sit on parity of esteem with A-Levels. The Chancellor heralded the move as a revolution in technical skills training that would go hand in hand with the apprenticeships roll out to propel British industry forward and solve our productivity challenge.
Kit Malthouse, Member of Parliament for North West Hampshire, welcomed the Budget. Speaking afterwards he said: “The funding for science is very positive and the £300 million for PhDs is most welcome. I’m also relieved that Chancellor has listened to the small businesses that were due to be hit with sharp increases in their rates bills. We’re capping the increase that businesses coming out of Small Business Rate Relief can see to £600 a year, providing pubs with a £1,000 discount, and providing local authorities with a £300 million discretionary fund to help individual hard cases.”
However, he added: “There are some details that MPs were going to have to look at very closely and that definitely includes the National Insurance Contribution increase for the self-employed. I will also be continuing conversations I’ve been having with the Government to make sure they understand the impact of introducing quarterly tax returns with the Making Tax Digital agenda.”