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    Budget 2015: Liberal Democrat WINS

    TessaEyeContact.jpgThis week’s Budget was the last before the General Election. 

    Here in the South West, cider is close to our hearts.  So I was delighted when the Chancellor confirmed a 2% cut to cider duty which received a rosy welcome from the industry!

    But for my party, there is so much more to be proud of than just cider and beer duty cuts. 

    Take income tax for example. Raising the point at which you begin paying income tax from £6,450 in 2010 to £10,000 was slap bang on the front page of our manifesto in 2010.  In those early debates, David Cameron said it was "impossible".  But we’ve proven him wrong, steadily raising the level at which you begin paying tax on your earnings year on year.

    In fact, we’ve overachieved!  From this April, you'll keep the first £10,600 you earn, but within two years, that'll be £11,000, heading for £12,500!

    Look at our apprenticeships.  Since Vince Cable took over as Business Secretary in 2010, he has led a 'revolution’, pursuing an increased range and quality.  Our apprenticeships policy has been such a huge success that we included further measures in the Budget. Our new voucher scheme puts employers in control, enabling them to buy training for their apprentices at a discounted cost.

    The actions we’ve taken in Government since 2010 have steadied and rebalanced the economy, but the real heroes are those running our small businesses, and their employees. They’ve quietly pulled the country into recovery - no thanks to our antiquated business rates system created 30 years ago and not fit for purpose for most of those decades.

    That’s why I’ve been banging the drum for a complete overhaul of our rates system for years, and despite Ministers agreeing with me privately, nothing was done.  I really felt I was banging my head against the Treasury’s brick walls!

    Until now.

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