Adrian has welcomed the 2012 budget as a budget for the millions, not the millionaires.
The main budget provision was the move to make the first £9,205 you earn tax free. This means that 21 million basic rate taxpayers will get an extra £220 cut in their income tax and a further 840,000 will be taken out of paying income tax altogether.
There was also a tax cut in the 50p rate to 45p, but this will be made up for by rises in other taxes that will raise 5 times as much from the wealthy as the 50p tax rate. In addition, the Government is also introducing a cap on tax breaks the wealthy can use to cut their tax bills, ensuring that the wealthy pay their fair share. Yet again the Liberal Democrats’ contribution to Government means a fairer budget for all.
And there is especially good news for pensioners – a pension increase of £5.30 a week, which is the highest increase ever.
Commenting, Adrian said:
“I greatly welcome this month’s budget. It is a budget aimed at the many, rather than the few. I am especially pleased that we have taken another step towards our manifesto promise of making the first £10,000 you earn tax free. This is a budget that will encourage growth whilst still ensuring that we sort out the public finances to prevent soaring interest rates and a crash in confidence. Interestingly Labour voted against the Liberal Democrat additional allowance for the low paid and when it came to a vote on reducing the top rate of tax they abstained!”
Social Care Lobby
Adrian was honoured to attend the Social Care Lobby held in Westminster Hall on 6th March. The lobby was attended by more than 1000 people, who came to tell the Government that the social care system in the UK is in crisis and to offer up their ideas on how to solve this vital issue. It was organised by the Care and Support Alliance, which is made up of 50 organisations representing older and disabled people. Many of those attending had a learning or physical disability, older people and those who represent and support them.
Adrian met with many constituents, including the group Spot (Speaking Out in Torbay), a group which is run for disabled people by disabled people. They told him about their worries over a £1million cut to funding for people with learning disabilities in Torbay at a time when the Council is keeping nearly £30 million in reserves for a rainy day.
“It was a privilege to come here today to meet with my constituents on this key issue of social care and to hear all their ideas and solutions to the problems we face. I share their concerns about the £1 million cut to funding. If this period of austerity we are all facing isn’t a rainy day for using reserves I don’t when is, and I would urge the Mayor to think again about the level of reserves needed when vital services are being cut.”
Bay Bus Funding
Adrian has heralded the awarding of £514,700 to Torbay as part of the “Better Bus Area Fund” organized by the Department of Transport. Torbay is one of 24 areas receiving the money from the fund. The fund will go towards improving bus travel in Torbay and seek to integrate services. It will mean real-time information on bus arrivals will now be available and key traffic junctions and bus stations will see improvements. This will mean better and more efficient services for customers.
“I am very happy that Torbay has been awarded this grant. It will go a long way to improve our public transport system. The Coalition’s decision to award Torbay this funding is yet another sign that the Coalition is investing in local communities and I am looking forward to seeing the end result!”
The Liberal Democrat Youth Contract
Adrian supports the Liberal Democrat Youth Contract, which promises over £11million to get young people in the South West who are not in employment, education or training learning or earning again. The campaign targets funding to 16 and 17-year-olds with no GCSEs at A* – C who are at the highest risk of long term disillusionment and disengagement through a payment by results system. This is an effective way to get the young people back into work and to help our economy get back on track.
Adrian “Stands Shoulder to Shoulder with All who Serve”
Adrian was recently thanked by the Royal British Legion for taking the time to learn about all the work it does for the Armed Forces and their families. The Royal British Legion offer practical advice, care and support for serving and former armed forces personnel, as well as campaigning on behalf of their members for funding and support from the Government. Adrian attended an event at the House of Commons which emphasised all this important work and much more. He also learnt about the work of the Royal British Legion on a more local level.
John Pentreath, the Legion’s County Manager for Devon, said,
“It was great to see Mr Sanders at this event; we really appreciated his taking the time to drop in. Many people don’t realise that we spend nearly £1.4 million a week on helping both the Serving and the ex-Service communities, including their families, so we were delighted to remind him about the range of services we provide. We help everyone from a child of a Serving family needing an adventure break, to a young entrepreneur needing advice and assistance to be his own boss.”
Enterprise Task Force Launched
Adrian was the only South Devon MP to attend the first meeting of a cross-border enterprise task force set up to look at ways to boost job prospects across Teignbridge, Torbay, central Devon and the South Hams. Torbay’s elected Mayor invited MPs, council leaders, local businessmen and employment specialists to listen to his views on how everyone should work together to boost employment.
Adrian praised the Mayor for the idea and suggested that Devon County Council should be invited to future meetings as the authority with responsibility for economic development beyond Torbay’s boundaries. He also suggested that if such a task force was going to be more than a talking shop it needed to have an independent chair who was not a politician, or directly connected to any one local council.