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It made a pleasant change to listen to a Budget that had not been pre-announced in the previous day’s newspapers. That is as it should be, and it is a welcome change from what went on in the past, when details were leaked and briefed beforehand.
Parts of the Budget are absolutely magnificent, and I am particularly pleased about the decision to raise the income tax threshold. Many of my constituents are on relatively low incomes. Before 2010, people paid income tax after the first £6,500 of income, but now they will pay it only after the first £10,500. It is absolutely right that people be allowed to keep more of the money that they earn. It is absolutely fair to have this tax break—it is a tax break for everyone—and it does the right thing by incentivising work. It helps to end the crazy situation that has been engineered whereby the state takes tax from families with one hand and gives handouts with the other—a bizarre situation that got vastly worse between the years 2001 and 2010.