Determination, vision and optimism is what I see when I walk around our local area.
In 2006 Hastings Pier was closed down and nearly five years ago that terrible fire meant that there were no businesses on the pier.
Today, we are eagerly anticipating the opening of our new rebuilt pier this year. I am immensely proud of the Hastings community who took the lead in rebuilding our pier. And it shows that there is nothing our great local town cannot achieve if it applies determination, vision and optimism to our future.
And it is that same spirit of recovery that underpinned the Chancellor’s Budget in the House of Commons last Wednesday. On top of announcing that the UK had the fastest growth in the G7 in 2014, and that from April 1, 2015 banks will pay their fair share by increasing the rate of the bank levy, the Chancellor ensured that families will keep more of the money they earn by increasing the tax-free personal allowance to £11,000 in April 2017. He also cancelled the fuel duty increase scheduled for September and cut beer duty for the third year in a row. Cheers!
And to help first time buyers save for a deposit, this Government is introducing a Help to Buy ISA. This means that people will be able to open an ISA, save up to £200 a month towards their first home, and the Government will boost it by 25%. That’s a £50 bonus for every £200 people save, up to £3,000.
There were some important measures to support communities such as the £15 million Church Roof Fund to help church roof appeals, which was more than trebled to £55 million. And VAT will be refunded to all blood bike charities in recognition of the professional level of service they provide free of charge to NHS hospitals.
That is great news for our local charity SERV, who do an excellent job. There is also £1 million set aside to help buy defibrillators for public places, including schools, and support training in their use to save more lives. And I hope schools right across Hastings and Rye will take advantage of this.
In 2010 we were not in good shape. But with unemployment and workless households in Hastings and Rye continuing to fall and job vacancies at a record high, this is progress that must continue.
Across the constituency businesses are doing an incredible job of growing our economy, creating work and taking on apprentices and employees. In doing so they are giving more people than ever the sense of security and self-worth that comes with a wage.
Creating equality and allowing people to succeed whatever their background is one of the fundamental qualities of a strong economy and fair society. And all of the changes above make sure that residents feel that bit more secure about their lives and their families’ lives. And they can feel more hopeful about their children’s finances.
P.S: For a list of all the Budget announcement please visit:
Today, March 27, is my fourth Annual Jobs Fair and I encourage all those looking for a job, training scheme, apprenticeships or career advice to head down to Sussex Coast College anytime between 10am and 3pm.