Today’s budget is good for the Country and good for the East of England – helping savers, first time buyers, business, agriculture and councils to name but a few.
Helping first time buyers with Help to Buy ISAs. In the East of England, this could help over 40,000 people to buy their first home in the next 5 years by giving them a 25 per cent bonus of the amount they have saved to help with the cost of their first home. Couples getting the full £3,000 will be able to receive a Government bonus worth 18 per cent of their deposit.
Backing savers with the Personal Savings Allowance. In the East of England, giving basic rate taxpayers a £1,000 Personal Savings Allowance and higher rate taxpayers a £500 Personal Savings Allowance could remove up to 1.63 million people from savings tax liability.
Giving more choice to savers with New Flexible ISAs. In the East of England, the latest figures show there were 2.2 million ISA holders that could benefit from being able to invest in a wider range of assets and 1.08 million cash ISA subscribers that could benefit from being able to take money out of their cash ISA and put it back later in the year without losing any of their tax-free entitlement.
Supporting farmers by increasing the period over which self-employed farmers can average their profits for income tax purposes from two to five years.
Delivering more homes The Government will continue to work with Babergh and Mid Suffolk on their proposal for the Suffolk Rural Growth Housing Zone, which could deliver 975 new homes. The Government also intends to create a joint venture between the Homes and Communities Agency and a private sector partner to lead development on the Northstowe site. It expects that three quarters of the homes started by 2020 will be built under direct contract with the public sector.
More funding for flood defences As a result of decisions made in the Autumn Statement, an additional £16.8 million will be made available in the first four years of the flood and coastal erosion programme, enabling five schemes to be delivered at least a year sooner than originally planned and a further eight new schemes to be included.
Improving roads by launching the Highways England Delivery Plan. The Delivery Plan sets out further detail on the roads investment programme from 2015-2021, setting out milestones for projects across the East of England. It confirms that the significant improvements to the A14 will commence construction by 2017. It sets out next steps on the new schemes announced in December 2014, including increasing capacity on the A1(M) in Hertfordshire, upgrading technology on the M11 from Stansted to Cambridge and widening the A12 from Chelmsford to Colchester, all of which will have started construction by 2020.
Investing in transport. The Government will provide a further £34 million to support the delivery of the Croxley rail link project, subject to a £16 million contribution from Transport for London and business case approval. The Government will also provide £4 million for further development work on the Ipswich Wet Dock Crossing and the Lowestoft Third River Crossing.
Supporting small businesses with the Broadband Connection Voucher scheme. The scheme is open to all SMEs, charities, social enterprises and sole traders and provides up to £3,000 to support broadband connection. The scheme in Cambridge, which has already issued 191 vouchers, is being extended for 12 months to March 2016. The scheme opened in Peterborough on 19 February and will be available in Ipswich and Norwich by 1 April.
Local authorities to retain the proceeds from growth in business rates. In Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, the Government is piloting an additional business rate retention scheme from 1 April 2015 which will allow these local authorities to retain 100 per cent of any additional growth in business rates above expected forecasts.
Investing in agriculture The Government will invest £11.8 million in creating a Centre for Agricultural Informatics in Harpenden, Hertfordshire.