A busy week in Parliament brought some welcome news for us in Rye and the area in general. We had the excitement of the Autumn Statement which is the equivalent of a mini budget. It is an opportunity for the Chancellor to take stock of progress and to make some changes and we hope improvements to help ease difficulties in parts of all our lives.
There were good breaks for small businesses, with capping of business rates and extending of business rate relief. There was also the introduction of £1,000 off for High Street shops, restaurants and pubs, which I had particularly been lobbying the Chancellor for to help keep our High Streets vibrant.
I know how important and difficult the fixed costs are for local businesses so I really welcome reductions to business rates. There was also a boost for young people with the waiving of National Insurance for employees aged 18 to 21.
For commuters and families, we have at last got confirmation that for the first time in over 10 years the rail fares will only be increased by inflation and not the usual “inflation busting” RPI plus 2 or 3 – or even more in previous years. Rail travel is key to us in Rye and I am determined to stop costs going up while pushing for investment and improvement.
Finally I have launched my Independent Shop Competition. As part of promoting local retailers I am urging residents to nominate their favourite and for shops to promote the competition to their customers. I have been delighted with the response, but there is still time to vote by going to my website. And remember to make sure that your friends and family get the best presents at Christmas by doing your shopping on our high streets!