The Chancellor’s Autumn Statement will have a significant positive impact for local families.
Transport and Infrastructure
The decision to invest an extra £23 billion over 5 years into Innovation and Infrastructure will be welcome to all residents and commuters who are forced to use Southern Rail. Although the details have yet to be announced, £650 million has been allocated for roads and rail, as well as a further £285 million investment into introducing digital signalling which will allow more trains to run on the same sections of track.
I put the case for investment into our part of the rail network to the Chancellor in the Chamber today, and spoke privately to the Transport Secretary a few minutes later. I am lobbying for our line to be the first track to get digital signalling, which will substantially increase the number of trains that can run. One of the biggest problems is capacity constraints on the Brighton mainline, and digital signalling will help fix this.
I spoke before the announcement to LBC Radio laying out what I wanted to see with this statement, including the need for greater rail investment (you can listen to the interview here).
An Economy that works for everyone
This Autumn Statement was about creating an economy that works for everyone. The Chancellor set out to support families on lower incomes and to make work pay, and the policies that he has announced will achieve this.
The improvements that the Chancellor announced to funding for Universal Credit – which will replace the old benefits system – will leave 3 million households better off. The Government is raising the minimum wage by 30p per hour to £7.50 per hour next April, which will be a 15% increase since I was elected in May 2015. I started lobbying for a much higher minimum wage within weeks of being elected. This, combined with the continued commitment to raise the Tax Free Personal Allowance so that the first £11,500 that a person earns each year is free from income tax, will have a major impact on improving the lives of those families on low income.
The NHS has received a commitment of £10 billion more each year by 2020, which is absolutely necessary to ensure that the National Health Service continues to work for everyone.
I strongly welcome the Chancellor’s decision to commit an extra £2 billion per year into science and technology research. Given the uncertain nature of Brexit negotiations and spending it is reassuring to see the Government’s commitment to such an important area in which Britain remains a world leader.