BUDGET NEWS
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The Chancellor's recent Budget is good news for Worcestershire. Following weeks of speculation, George Osborne revealed a budget that eases the tax burden on the poorest and focuses boldly on our economy and growth - on jobs.
The increase in the personal income tax allowance will be a welcome relief to hardworking families taking many out of paying income tax at all. The plans to cut corporation tax will make our country a still more attractive place to do business and will have been welcome to businesses across the county. That means the Worcestershire World Trade Fair, the brainchild of my colleague Harriett Baldwin, is well timed. The Fair is being held today (Friday) and will enable local businesses to meet representatives of foreign governments in Worcester and develop new markets and attract inward investment.

A number of concerned constituents, particularly pensioners, have contacted me about different aspects of the budget, in particular the changes to the so-called "age related allowance".

I understand the concerns, but although it's true the allowance has been frozen, no pensioner will lose out in cash terms and, by definition as it's about income tax, those on the lowest incomes will be completely unaffected. Indeed, thanks to the increase in the basic state pension of 5.30 a week every pensioner will still be better off. And the new guarantees on future pension increases means the incomes of pensioners are better protected than ever.

On top of that, and at a time of real financial challenge thanks to the urgent need to reduce our massive national deficit, pensioner benefits such as free prescriptions, free bus travel and winter fuel payments have also been protected by the Government. We owe our pensioners special treatment, even in a time of austerity, and I'm glad they are receiving it.

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