Delivering savings to squeezed households

GOOD news is hard to come by at this still dark and wintery time of year, and up and down the country right now household budgets are being stretched and squeezed.

But even in these difficult times we’re working to deliver savings to families and pensioners.

We’re funding another council tax freeze this year: the average household’s bill will be up to £72 lower this year on a Band D home than it would otherwise have been – and that’s on top of the £72 a year saved from last year’s freeze.

From April petrol duty will be a full ten pence lower than it would have been without our action in the autumn Budget, which translates into a £144 reduction on filling up the average family car by the end of next year.

Also from April there will be a further increase in the personal allowance of £630, taking 260,000 more people out income tax and reducing the tax paid by 25 million people by an average of £4 – and that’s without creating any more higher rate taxpayers.

Together with the £1,000 rise which happened last April, that means a total of £326 extra each year. A total of 1.1 million low paid workers have been taken out of tax altogether.

Entitlement to free education and care for three and four-year-olds has been increased to 15 hours a week and it’s been extended to the most disadvantaged two-year-olds as well.

By the end of the parliament, we will provide £760 million a year to ensure 260,000 disadvantaged two-year-olds - around 40 per cent of the total - will receive 15 hours a week free education and care.

In April 2011 the Child Tax Credit increased by £225 – the largest increase ever. This April it will go up by 5.2 per cent, a further increase of £135.

After the Prime Minister held an energy summit in October 2011 to address concerns about rising prices, we’ve seen several energy companies pass on the international fall in prices to the consumer.

And our credible economic plan is keeping interest rates low – helping families, businesses and the tax payer.

If interest rates went up by one per cent in this country, that would add £1,000 to the typical family mortgage. That is the risk that we would have with Labour’s plans for more spending, more borrowing and more debt.

In addition it’s welcome news that inflation is now decisively on the way down. We’ve got some way to go to get strong growth into the economy.

But the basic necessary requirements are there. And we remain determined that Britain will be a fantastic place to do business.

FRANCIS MAUDE

MP for Horsham