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BUDGET: We still have tough decisions to make, say MPs

Among the measures announced by the Chancellor George Osborne, a new national living wage of £9 an hour by 2020, an increase in the inheritance tax threshold to £1 million for married couples, fuel duties frozen and the 40p tax threshold to be increased to £43,000.

Iain Stewart pictured left, MP for Milton Keynes South, said: “This was a budget for aspirational hard-working people across Milton Keynes and the UK.

“It is a Budget that delivers security for working people and keeps Britain moving from a low wage, high tax, high welfare economy to a higher wage, lower tax and lower welfare country.

“We still have tough decisions to make but it is important for the long-term good.”

He welcomed the inheritance tax changes and the increase in the lower tax threshold to £11,000. Chancellor George Osborne also announced significant increases in investment for defence and the NHS.

Milton Keynes North MP Mark Lancaster pictured right said: “This budget will take people from a life of dependency to a more secure future, by cutting taxes for working people, they are able to save more of what they earn.”

“The increased spending in the NHS is particularly good news and Iain and I will both be lobbying to make sure Milton Keynes Hospital continues to get the additional investment it needs.” 


Radical change to apprenticeships welcomed                

Mr Stewart said that changes to apprenticeships announced by Mr Osborne are an ambitious step forward for Milton Keynes.

The new Apprenticeship Levy will see businesses get out more financially than they put in when taking on an apprentice.

The Chancellor described the move as “frankly long overdue.”

The move is designed to encourage businesses to take on three million more apprenticeships in the coming years, adding to the two million created since 2010.

The money for the levy will be directly controlled by businesses with the Government working with them on how to make sure it is directed in the right areas.

Mr Stewart, who has been a long-standing advocate for apprenticeships, said, “I was delighted to hear the announcement by the Chancellor. We have to address a skills gap in the UK and here in Milton Keynes.

“We started to address this issue in the last parliament and it is vital we continue to do that over the next five years.”

He added: “I know the businesses I visit, from manufacturing to professional services, are keen to take on apprenticeships but they remain nervous on the financial side.

“Hopefully with the new levy and working together with businesses the government can encourage more to take the leap and train a new generation of skilled workers.”

“It is a bold, ambitious step forward that will give Milton Keynes and the UK a skilled and loyal workforce.”