Article for Tiptree Tribune

The Autumn Statement announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer last week will deliver improvements to road and rail infrastructure in Essex and support families and businesses. As a result of the decisions taken as part of the Government's long term economic plan to control public spending, the deficit is falling, more jobs are being created and the economy is growing at the fastest rate of any major economy.
 
This has been a strong achievement from businesses and the Government, especially when we consider the state that the economy was left in by Labour in 2010. Back then, the budget deficit was over £150 billion, which was the largest deficit in the developed world, youth unemployment stood at one million, and high taxes and red tape strangled investment and entrepreneurialism. Now we are seeing 1,000 jobs a day being created in the economy, new businesses being set up and economic growth at 3%.
 
The lower rates of tax introduced by the Government have helped to secure strong economic foundations and conditions for future growth and prosperity. To give businesses more help, the Autumn Statement included new measures to increase the 'high street discount' on business rates for small shops from £1,000 to £1,500 while extending for a further year the doubling of the Small Business Rate Relief scheme and the capping of business rate increases at no more than 2%. Further reforms to business rates will happen in the future as a comprehensive review of this tax was announced.
 
Businesses are also receiving new help to support job creation in the economy. National insurance contributions paid in respect of employees under the age of 21 and young apprentices under the age of 25 will be abolished. This will get more young people into work, which is in complete contrast to the era of mass youth unemployment presided over when Labour were in Government.
 
As well as supporting business growth, the Autumn Statement has introduced new measures to reduce the tax burden on families so workers can keep more of what they earn. The tax free allowance will be raised further to £10,600, meaning that those in work will pay £825 less in tax then they did in 2010 under Labour and have more of their own money in their pocket to spend as they see fit. Home ownership is being supported too with reforms to stamp duty meaning that 98% of home buyers will pay less in this tax. Fuel duty is also being frozen, air passenger duty charges on children's flights will be eliminated. Savers and pensioners will also benefit from measures to raise the tax free limit on ISAs to £15,240 and to enable widows and widowers to inherit their deceased partner's pension pot and ISA tax free.
 
In addition to lower taxes and sound fiscal policy, the economy needs good infrastructure to enable growth to happen.  Importantly, this Autumn Statement has recognised that the road and rail network in Essex needs upgrading to unlock billions of pounds of new economic growth. The Government has therefore committed to investing in the A12 to make it a three-lane carriageway and is getting behind new proposals to improve rail services with new infrastructure and better rolling stock. Since being elected I have campaigned hard with local residents, businesses and organisations to secure these improvements so the announcements in the Autumn Statement are welcome and shows that the Government is committed to our County's prosperity. By comparison, under Labour, Essex suffered from appalling levels of under-investment in infrastructure, which held back business growth and inflicted misery on commuters.
 
While the Autumn Statement announced that improvements will be made to the A12 and to our rail services, I am also delighted to see that the campaign to secure a school crossing patrol at Tollesbury Primary School has been successful. Parents, pupils and the School have campaigned hard to secure a crossing patrol to support the safety of pupils and I have been pleased to work with them and Essex County Council to achieve this.
 
The new crossing patrol will be run by volunteers with support provided by Essex County Council and the School. Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer can find out more by contacting [email protected]
 
If anyone has any questions about the Autumn Statement or any other issue, feel free to contact me by email to: [email protected] by post to: Priti Patel MP, House of Commons, London, SW1A 0AA, or by telephone on: 020 7219 3528.
 
Priti Patel
Member of Parliament for Witham
 

A12/A120 Consultations

Strategic Road Network Consultations

There are two important consultations running at the moment on key strategic road infrastructure improvements - the A12 widening scheme and the upgrading of the A120. Priti has been campaigning to secure new investment in these roads and has welcomed the consultations taking place. Members of the public can review the proposals for the A12 and A120 at the weblinks below, attend consultation events, and respond to the consultation. Feel free to also contact Priti by email to: [email protected] with your views too.

Widening the A12

Upgrading the A120

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