Conservative candidate Luke Graham has hailed the Chancellor’s final Budget of this parliament as being “an excellent Budget for hard working families” in Ochil and South Perthshire.
Graham said: “An increase in the personal allowance to £11,000 by 2017 means that the Conservatives will have pulled 287,000 Scottish low-paid workers out of tax altogether since 2010.
“In addition, the removal of Class II National Insurance will help support the growth of small businesses across the constituency which in turn will create more jobs locally”.
George Osborne also announced in his Budget on Wednesday a £1.3 billion relief package for North Sea oil, which has been hit by the sudden drop in oil prices, following a supply boom from the United States.
The Chancellor revealed his third consecutive cut in beer tax, cutting the cost of a pint by 1p, reducing whisky duty by 2 per-cent, and freezing duty on wine.
Osborne also announced the planned fuel duty increase, scheduled for September, will now be scrapped.
The tax threshold is to increase to £10,800 in April 2016, and will reach £11,000 in 2017. Meanwhile, the 40p tax threshold will increase by £315 in 2016, and a further £600 in 2017 – taking the top rate threshold to £43,000 for the 2017-18 tax year.
Those who will be best off next year will be married couples, who have two children, and take home just £25,000 between them. Families in this range will be £40 a month better off, or £480 a year.
Worse off families will be those married couples, with two children, and take home more than £40,000 between them. However, these families will only be £9 a month worse off.
The Chancellor did receive criticism that his projected budget surplus for 2019-20 was revised down from £23 billion – announced in his Autumn Statement – to £7 billion. He has also been attacked by Labour for failing to outline fully how he would make £30 billion in spending cuts, if the Tories are elected in May.
The UK economy was the fastest growing major economy last year, according to the Office of Budget Responsibility, growing by 2.6 per-cent. Inflation has also been revised down for this year to 0.2 per-cent, and unemployment is to fall to 5.3 per-cent this year.
Luke Graham also welcomed the Chancellor’s commitment to the Scottish Air Ambulance Service (based in Perth), and increased broadband coverage across the country.
Graham said: “The economic recovery is well under way, but we must ensure that it benefits everyone.”