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Wednesday, 18 March 2015

A Coalition budget packed with Lib Dem policies

The Liberal Democrats say that todays budget confirms that Lib Dems in government are building a stronger economy and a fairer society, creating opportunity for everyone. In government they say they have ensured that Britain has kept on the path to recovery in a way that is fair. They say they won’t jeopardise the UK's economic credibility by overseeing a Budget that is a pre-election give away. That’s why everything in the Budget, they say, is paid for, and in a fair way. The Budget is packed full of policies that deliver Liberal Democrat priorities:
  • Help for lower and middle income earners by increasing the Personal Allowance by further £200 so that from April 2016 the tax threshold increases to £10,800 and from April 2017 to £11,000. By 2017/2018, 27.2 million workers will have benefited from increases in the personal allowance and we will have lifted over 3.7 million out of income tax altogether.
  • Help for children with mental health problems by providing £1.25bn of new funding over the next five years to treat 110,000 more children with mental health issues, and provide rapid access to treatment for new mothers.
  • Help for motorists by cancelling Labour’s fuel duty increase for September, so that fuel duty will have been frozen for 5 years – the longest freeze for more than 20 years. 
  • Help for people buying a house with a new Help to Buy ISA providing up to £3,000 for first time buyers using their savings to buy a home.
  • Help for savers by creating a new savings income allowance so that 95 per cent of individuals can now save completely tax free.
  • Help for pensioners by introducing Steve Webb’s proposal to give people who have already bought an annuity greater flexibility over how they access its value. 

And the Lib Dems say it is all fully paid for by delivering on their policies:
  • By reducing the lifetime allowance for pension contributionsthat benefit from tax relief from £1.25m to £1m – affecting only the top 4% of wealthiest individuals.
  • By increasing the bank levy which will raise £4.4bn over the next five years.
  • By cracking down on off-shore tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance on those who are serial avoiders.
  • By ensuring capital gains tax entrepreneurs’ relief is well targeted and only available when someone is making a meaningful withdrawal from that business.

The economy is growing because of the hard work of people and businesses throughout Britain. But the Lib Dems say their economic plan is the rock on which the recovery is being built on and the party claim it wouldn’t be happening without the Liberal Democrats in government. The UK economy is currently the fastest growth among G7 economies . At the end of 2014, the number of people in work was at at record high of 30.9m

The Liberal Democrats say it shows that in the face of rising instability around the world the Lib Dems plan is delivering stability and growth in the UK. The global economic recovery remains uneven and the UK is not immune to the severe problems being experienced in Europe and other parts of the world economy. That is why the Lib Dems say the Budget contains measures to:
  • Support to deliver broadband in rural areas.
  • Support to ensure the North Sea continues to attract investment and safeguard the future of this vital national asset.
  • Support for cutting-edge scientific infrastructure by committing £400m to 2020/2021.
  • Support for more City Deals by working with the Scottish and Welsh Governments and local partners towards City Deals for Cardiff, Aberdeen, and Inverness.
  • Support for farmers by increasing the period they can average their profits for income tax purposes from 2 years to 5 years.