By Alan Mak, MP for Havant
The Budget sent a strong message that the government is delivering for working people, businesses and communities across the Havant constituency.
Our area has had strong local growth in recent years, with the opening of FatFace’s new distribution centre at Dunsbury Park, Colt’s new manufacturing facility on New Lane and P&I Generators’ new headquarters off Harts Farm Way.
That reflects the national picture with the country now having enjoyed 22 consecutive quarters of continuous economic growth and employment being three million higher than in 2010.
So it was right the chancellor used some of this extra wealth and tax revenue to give back to local people and shop owners.
That includes cutting business rates for up to 90 per cent of all shops, saving them up to £8,000 each year, raising the personal tax allowance to £12,500 and increasing the higher rate threshold to £50,000.
These measures will save the basic rate taxpayer £130 and £1,205 compared to 2010.
There will also be a five per cent increase in the National Living Wage, meaning a £690 annual pay rise for some of the hardest working people in the country. I was pleased by the continued efforts to back our exporters with increased funding for UK Export Finance and a commitment that the British Business Bank will replace access to the European Investment Fund if needed after Brexit.
This commitment to global trade as we leave the EU is important, especially as our area is renowned for its exporting.
It’s also something I’m committed to help grow and I was pleased a number of aspiring exporters came to the second Export Hub Roadshow that I hosted recently at Langstone Technology Park.
This event is focussed on what businesses can do to unlock international trade opportunities, and featured a number of expert speakers.
The outward-thinking businesses at the event, and others that operate in Havant, partnered with a business friendly environment being created by the government, give me hope that our area has a bright future ahead.