This is a highly responsible and sensible Budget, and with some real wins for Herefordshire in particular.
The tax free personal allowance is to rise to £11,000, which means people can take home an extra £4,525 before they have to pay any income tax, compared with five years ago.
For the first time, individuals will benefit from a tax free savings allowance - on top of their ISA allowances. This will mean that more than nine out of ten taxpayers will no longer pay any tax on income from savings. And the Government is launching a new ISA for those who are saving up to buy their first home.
There is welcome help in the Budget for Herefordshire farmers, who will now be able to average their profits for income tax over five rather than two years, so that they will be better protected against price fluctuations in food markets.
The Chancellor has announced a further penny cut in beer duty and a 2% cut in cider duty. This is not only great news for our pubs, but also for local cider producers, and hop and cider apple growers.
Overall, the economy is in a much better place than it was five years ago, both nationally and here in Herefordshire. Local unemployment is down by nearly two thirds. Now we must get the extra investment we need--in broadband, in better roads, in housing and in the new university project--to push wages and living standards up farther and faster.