North Devon’s MP has welcomed the rise in tax thresholds and increase in the National Living Wage announced in the Autumn Budget on Monday.

Chancellor Philip Hammond delivering his Budget statement to MPs in the House of Commons, London. Picture: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/PA WireChancellor Philip Hammond delivering his Budget statement to MPs in the House of Commons, London. Picture: UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor/PA Wire

An earlier than expected increase in the income tax threshold and the higher rate threshold were the highlights of the Chancellor’s Budget.

Philip Hammond said the personal allowance, the income at which workers begin to pay tax, would increase to £12,500 from April, with the amount when the top rate of income tax is applied rising to £50,000 at the same time. They had been due to come into effect in April 2020.

Alongside this were measures including the confirmation of a Digital Services Tax aimed at online giants making huge profits, plus cash for house building, counter-terrorism policing and the Ministry of Defence.

Freezing fuel and beer duty, a new tax on the manufacture and import on non-recyclable plastic and funding for mental health services were other key points.

Peter Heaton-Jones, Conservative MP for North Devon, said the budget had a ‘whole range of eye-catching measures’ to help working families.

He said: “Most significantly, 30 million people have been given a tax cut. I warmly welcome the Chancellor’s decision to raise the allowance of tax-free earnings to £12,500, a full year sooner than planned.

“It means a typical basic-rate taxpayer will pay £1,205 less next year than they did in 2010.

“The increase in the National Living Wage is also good news. It’s going up by 5 per cent from £7.83 to £8.21, giving a pay rise of nearly £700 a year to a full-time worker.”

Mr Heaton-Jones also said the fuel duty freeze was a welcome measure for a rural area like North Devon.

But Lib Dem proespective parliamentary candidate, Dr Kirsten Johnson, said the wealth gap between the richest and poorest was ‘larger than ever’.

She said: “During my recent visits to schools across North Devon, heads tell me that school funding and support is at a 28-year low.

“Rural schools are bearing the brunt of the £9billion, 6.9 per cent, cuts planned by Conservative Devon County Council by 2022.

“The current Conservative MP for North Devon pledged to oppose these cuts and asked people not to vote for him if he did not do so.”