I promised to blog about specific aspects of the Budget, which was presented in the Commons this week, so that people in Norwich are well-informed. This blog is about the business aspects of the changes which have been announced, because the success of businesses working hard in our city is incredibly important to all of us.
I'll start at the highest level. The UK economy has solid foundations and has grown every year since 2010. The Government’s balanced approach to the public finances has meant that the deficit has fallen by 80% since 2010, borrowing has fallen to its lowest level since 2001 and debt has started its first sustained fall in a generation. Employment has risen over the last year, breaking records repeatedly. Since 2010 there are 3.3million more people in work and 80% of the rise in employment has been generated by people moving into full time work.
It is only through a strong economy that we receive the revenue to invest in our public services and that is why I am pleased that the Government has put business at the heart of the recovery. I am pleased to see businesses are thriving nationally and locally because this is what employs people and jobs give people the chance to provide for themselves and their families.
Business investment has grown by 1.8% in 2017 and the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) predicts business investment to rise to 2.3% in 2019 and by 2.1% up until 2023.
The Government is committed to keeping taxes low to provide businesses with an environment which they can grow and create jobs. The Government has already cut corporation tax to 19%- the lowest in the G20 and this will fall further to 17% in 2020.
I am pleased that the measures announced in the Budget reaffirm the UK’s international competitiveness and supports local growth with the Chancellor announcing a temporary increase in the Annual Investment Allowance to £1million, to support business investment.
The Budget also provided more good news for our local businesses here in Norwich as the Chancellor has pledged to cut business rates by a third for the next two years. Rates will be cut by a third for retailers with rateable value under £51,000, saving up to 90% of all shops up to £8,000 each year.
As your constituency MP, I recognise the importance of our small and local businesses that is why I welcome the Chancellors announcement of £1.5bn for high street retailers, boosting Britain’s infrastructure with investment in new technologies to revive our high streets.
It is also important that we back our aspiring entrepreneurs and to build on the UK’s reputation as one of the best places in the world to start and grow a business. To that end, the Government will extend the funding of the British Business Bank’s Start-Up Loans Programme to 2021 so it can continue to provide loans and mentoring to entrepreneurs.
In addition to this, the Budget will also help small employers take on more apprentices through reform to the apprenticeship levy. The Government will make up to £450million available to enable levy paying employers to transfer up to 25% of their funds to pay for apprenticeship training in their supply chains.
As your local MP, here in Norwich I founded Norwich For Jobs with the specific aim to provide young people with opportunities to fulfil their potential and enter the world of employment. I fully support this change and recognise that this will provide more opportunities for young people here in Norwich.
In conjunction with the help for the high street and small businesses, it is also important that large multinational corporations pay their fair share. That is why the Chancellor is introducing a 2% Digital Services Tax which will ensure large, global tech firms pay a fair share of tax to support our public services and local high streets. I passed many constituents views on this issue to the Chancellor and I am pleased the Government have acted.
The Government remains committed to tackling tax avoidance and evasion, aggressive tax planning and non-compliance. You may be interested to know that the Government have introduced over 100 measures to crack down on tax avoidance and since 2010, £185 billion of tax that would otherwise have gone unpaid, has been paid into our public services.
Further steps taken in the Budget target avoidance and evasion as well as unfair outcomes. These are measures I support as they will ensure that everyone, no matter who they are, should pay the right amount of tax at the right time.
This Budget has been a positive one for businesses both locally and nationally. Only through a strong business friendly economy can we generate sustainable revenue to invest in our public services over the long term. I will continue to keep you updated with any further developments and I will work with the Government in Parliament to get the best deal for Norwich businesses.