The Chancellor last week set out his Growth Plan, which aims to help families tackle the immediate energy crisis, reduce and simplify the tax we all pay, remove barriers for business, and continue to build the infrastructure we need to grow the British economy.
The plans put forward are ambitious and are being undertaken in an extremely challenging environment. The impacts of Russia’s illegal war in Ukraine combined with the hangover from the pandemic have put massive inflationary pressures on the economy – already causing real concern for many households.
To help with this we’ve cut energy bills by £1,400 this year, working to both reduce inflation and support people in a real and meaningful way.
The Chancellor has set out a range of measures that he hopes will achieve a growth rate of 2.5%. To get there he announced some new measures such as Investment Zones which will deliver tax incentives and wider support for local economies that still fall behind like Tees Valley, Norfolk, and the Midlands.
On tax, people will be able to keep more of what they earn. From April 2023, the basic rate of income tax has been reduced to 19p on the pound, which will help 31 million people in just a few months time. The top rate of tax has also been abolished, making the UK more competitive with our G7 counterparts as a location to live and work. There’s also a whole range of support to drive business growth and investment. For example, the Annual Investment Allowance which gives businesses 100% tax relief on key investments such as new machinery.
As I mentioned in a previous article I have been appointed to the Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office – I wanted to share that I have been made the Minister for Africa. My brief covers the whole continent, including North Africa, as well as other policy areas such as consular policy and protocol - the people who coordinated the Late Queen’s funeral for example. I will also have oversight of the British Council and BBC World Service.
Lastly, I want to say thank you to everyone who attended the online panel event on sewage discharges that I hosted last week. For those who missed it and want to catch up, a recording is now available on my website: www.gilliankeegan.com.