Peter Heaton-Jones MP welcomes the Chancellor’s ‘Budget for working people’

North Devon MP Peter Heaton-Jones has hailed an 'eye-catching, optimistic and fair budget' he says is good news for many local people.

"The Conservative Party said throughout the election campaign that we are the party for working people, and today George Osborne proved it with the introduction of the National Living Wage," he said.

"It will start next April at £7.20 an hour and is expected to rise to £9 by 2020. This will give two-and-a-half million people a direct pay rise. It means a full time worker in North Devon currently receiving the minimum wage will get a pay rise of over £5,000."

Mr Heaton-Jones said the Chancellor had again increased the personal tax allowance - the amount someone can earn before paying any income tax at all - and next year it will rise to £11,000, on its way to the promised £12,500 by 2020.

"This means in North Devon an estimated 45,000 people will pay less income tax, and almost a thousand extra people will now pay no income tax whatsoever," he added.

In response to changes to the welfare system, Mr Heaton-Jones said he believed these were fait and allowed the government to spend more on public services while at the same time protecting the elderly, vulnerable and disabled.

"Of course there is more work to do to ensure we continue to have a strong and growing economy," he said.

"But overall these reforms put our welfare and benefits systems on a more sustainable footing, and are fair to hard-working families in North Devon.

"This was the first majority Conservative budget for nearly 20 years, and I felt privileged to be in the House of Commons to represent North Devon as the Chancellor made these important and welcome announcements."

The MP also welcomed the Chancellor's announcement the government will meet its NATO pledge to spend two per cent of our national income on defence in every year of this decade.

He was pleased the Chancellor had made good on a Conservative pledge to raise the inheritance tax threshold to £1million.