The Chancellor of the Exchequer outlined the steps that the Government will take to strengthen our economy as we exit the pandemic. I am pleased to have been able to contribute to this process as a Treasury Minister. I wanted to set out some of the steps that are being taken, and what they will mean for our area.
The backdrop for this budget is an optimistic economic outlook by the Office of Budget Responsibility, which anticipates that the UK economy will return to pre-Covid levels by the turn of the year.
Our economy's return to health means that the government is able to provide all departments with a real terms increase in funding, resulting in a 3.8% rise in spending for our vital public services. In total, today's budget amounts to £150 billion worth of new spending measures.
NHS and Social Care will see its funding increase by £44 billion to £177 billion by 2024, so that the UK retains its status as the best care provider in the world. This funding will help drive the rebuild of Addenbrooke's hospital towards completion, ensuring a world class facility within reach of local residents in the decades ahead.
Support for working families is also at the forefront of the Government’s agenda. The National Living Wage will rise 6.6% to £9.50 an hour, helping two million of the lowest-paid workers gain an average of £1,000 extra per year. The Universal Credit taper will be cut from 63p to 55p within weeks, giving two million more working families an extra £1,000 a year.
I am particular pleased that the budget also includes money to increase per-pupil funding in our local schools, something I have campaigned for over many years.
In addition, our return to a more normal state of affairs means that the UK will resume spending 0.7% of GNI on international aid by the end of this Parliament. I hope this is reassuring to the many constituents that have raised the issue with me.
Other policies include:
A 50% business rates discount for 90% of hospitality, retail, and leisure companies
£11.5 billion to build 180,000 new affordable homes
An increase in per pupil funding of £1500 to help students catch up
A freeze to fuel duties for the twelfth successive year
Cambridgeshire and Peterborough to be given funding for around 30 new zero carbon buses