Brexit is a vitally important, historic moment for our nation and it is therefore understandable that so much time continues to be devoted to it. However, our relationship with the European Union is not what inspired me to become an MP. I entered politics to make our country a better, fairer, and more prosperous place.
I am therefore pleased that this week, away from the Brexit Maelstrom, measures have been introduced which will directly improve the lives of people in Maidstone and the Weald. The National Living Wage has increased by 5% amounting to a £690 annual pay rise for full time workers. In addition, this weekend will also see a rise in the personal tax-free allowance from £11,850 to £12,500. This will mean that the typical basic rate taxpayer will now pay £1200 less tax each year than they did ten years ago.
Furthermore, with effect from this week, small high street businesses, including our shops, pubs and restaurants, will benefit from a substantial cut to business rates. The changes will see the average shop make savings of over £3000 on their tax bill. Our High Streets are a backbone to our local economy whilst also providing a place for communities to come together. In short, they really matter and I am delighted the Government is supporting them in this way. I hope the benefits of this tax cut will particularly help to support businesses in Week Street, Fremlin Walk and on Cranbrook’s High Street so that we can all continue to enjoy their services for the foreseeable future.
All this, alongside the fact that wages are rising and employment is at record high levels, stokes confidence that our economy is in a good place. I therefore feel sure that if we can secure a good Brexit deal and, in doing so, bring our country back together then the future for our nation and our community is enormously bright.