• Lowering the Burden

    Mid Devon Advertiser
    02 March 2018

    Last week I finished taking the Finance Bill through the Commons. The Bill (basically a piece of legislation prior to it becoming an Act of Parliament) is about delivering the commitments made during the last budget. These will be particularly helpful to those in lower income families. At the Treasury I am the Minister responsible for UK tax and when it comes to tax changes I always place a particular emphasis on easing the burden for those who have the least whilst seeking to generally decrease taxation across the board. In this bill we increased the personal allowance (the amount that you earn without having to pay any income tax) to £11,850. The increases has taken almost 3 million workers out of income tax altogether since 2010. It means more money in the pockets of those who need it the most. It has helped to make work pay and to drive our jobs miracle. We have near record levels of employment and close to the lowest level of unemployment in 45 years. And before some tell you that these new jobs are low skilled, low paid, zero hour contracts – they aren’t. Three quarters of new jobs created since 2010 are high-skilled, high paid and zero hours contracts account for just 2% of employment and suit many of those who work with them including students and more elderly workers who value the flexibility they bring. Also in the Bill are important measures to help first time buyers onto the housing ladder – not least younger people who have struggled to buy given the high level of property prices relative to wages. In London the ratio of average prices to average earnings is around 13 times and throughout the rest of the country it averages 8 times. The key is building more homes and we have set out our plans to make sure that this is what we do – 300,000 new builds a year by the mid 2020s. In the bill we have scrapped stamp duty on the first £300,000 of the purchase price for first time buyers and for any purchase up to £500,000. One of the key constraints facing first time buyers is finding the up front costs including the survey, conveyancing fees and deposit. This removal of stamp duty will mean that 80% of first time buyers will now pay no stamp duty at all and 95% will see a reduction in what they pay. On average first time buyers will save £1,700 and a million first time buyers are expected to benefit over the next 5 years. The bill also makes sure that we clamp down further on tax avoidance and evasion. We have brought in £175 billion in preventing avoidance since 2010 and the bill goes further still especially in the area of VAT fraud. These measures will be added to the over 100 anti-avoidance measures that we have brought in over the last few years. Follow Mel on Twitter @Mel and at