The Chancellor of the Exchequer delivered his Autumn Budget to Parliament on 22nd November. He began his speech by highlighting that the UK economy is forming a new relationship with our European neighbours and we are on a path to a new future outside the European Union. I welcomed that the Chancellor recognises the opportunities for the post-Brexit economy.
The UK currently hands over customs duties, collected on goods coming into the UK from non-EU states, to the European Union. This year, the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) details that the UK handed over £3.3 billion. After the UK leaves the EU and leaves the Customs Union, this will no longer have to be paid. HM Treasury are prudently setting aside £3 billion in Brexit preparations, on top of the £700 million that has already been invested.
Our businesses must remain robust and competitive, which is why I am glad that the Chancellor is maintaining the UK’s rate of Corporation Tax at 19 per cent. In 2010/11 under a main rate of 28 per cent, set by the Labour government, total receipts from Corporation Tax were £43.8 billion. In 2016/17 under a single standard rate of 20 per cent, total Corporation Tax raised was £55.9 billion. The long-term phased reduction in Corporation Tax has generated investment and jobs. When the UK reduces the main rate to 17 per cent in 2019, our companies will be able to compete with successful tiger economies Hong Kong and Singapore, whose rates are 16.5 per cent and 17 per cent, respectively.
I recently received letters from business-owning constituents who were concerned about the lowering of the VAT Threshold. At £85,000, ours is by far the highest in the OECD. This threshold will not be reduced.
It was also announced last week that RAF Shawbury will receive two grants from the Treasury, with money raised from Libor fines. Two grants, worth a total of £76,598, will provide a recreational area for service families and will be used to modernise welfare facilities for junior ranks. This is great news for the airfield base, which was recently awarded the rotary wing £1.1 billion contract until 2033.
In the final year of the last Labour government, we inherited the biggest deficit in our history and we were borrowing £300,000 a minute. Now, after many difficult choices the OBR estimates that we are currently borrowing £95,000 a minute and next year it is projected to still be as much as £75,000 per minute; savings must still be made.
Today, there are a record 32.06 million people in work; Project Fear has been proven wrong again. Even better, the OBR estimates that there will be another 600,000 people in work by 2022.
Chancellor of the Exchequer's speech in full
Autumn Budget 2017