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Diana Johnson MP backs Budget tax cuts

Hull North MP Diana Johnson has welcomed the tax-cutting Budget unveiled today by Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown.
Diana Johnson MP said: “This is a Budget for Britain’s families, jobs and enterprise that shows that a Labour Government is best for Hull.

“The Chancellor Gordon Brown announced that investment in key public services is to set to increase with education spending rising to its highest ever level. This will be good news for Hull’s schools and confirms that education remains Labour’s number one priority.

“On top of the national Minimum Wage and all Labour’s previous action to combat low pay, Gordon Brown was able to develop Labour’s tax reform agenda further with another cut in the basic rate of income tax from 22 pence to 20 pence from April 2008.

“The adult rate of the National Minimum Wage itself will be raised to £5.52 per hour and an increase in the Working Tax Credit, along with a new initiative with the major retailers, will help more people find jobs in the future.

“There was other good news for hard-working families, with more help with the costs of bringing up children. Child Benefit will rise over the next three years to £20 a week. In 1997 Child Benefit was just £575 a year. Now, under plans announced today by Gordon Brown, Child Benefit will be over £1,000 a year by 2010.

“Already 13,400 families and 24,800 children in Hull benefit from Labour’s tax credits. Today, Gordon Brown announced an increase in the child element of the Child Tax Credit by £150 per year.

“The contribution of those who have built our country and raised families in the past was also recognised in today’s Budget. Increases in pensioners’ tax allowance will take 600,000 pensioners out of paying income tax altogether, as we move forward to restore the earnings link for the basic state pension.

“This Budget simplifies the tax system, makes work and enterprise pay by cutting tax for workers and businesses and providing more support for families and pensioners. It shows why Labour is best for equipping Britain for the challenges and opportunities of the future, long term prosperity, economic stability and fairness. I am also pleased that the Budget makes a contribution to the fight against climate change.

“How different this is from the Tory past when Britain was tipped into recession, with families and businesses in Hull left to pay the price of 10 per cent inflation, mortgage rates up to 15 per cent, 1.5 million people in negative equity and three million on the dole.

“Today, neither the Tories nor the Liberal Democrats can offer credible policies to equip us for the future. The Tories would scrap the New Deal, cut the Child Tax Credit and impose billions of pounds of spending cuts on schools and other vital public services.

“And, until the Liberal Democrats can explain properly where the money would come from to pay for their endless tax and spending commitments, we cannot take their pledges seriously.”