Balancing the books

Since the Liberal Democrats took office in 2010, 53,900 Guildford residents have enjoyed an average £800 pound annual tax cut and 3,100 low earners have been lifted out of paying income tax altogether. There have also been 3,900 new business start-ups in the Guildford area which have benefited from over £150,000 of loans championed by Liberal Democrat policy.

Today the UK has the strongest growth of the major world economies since the crash of 2008.

It has record numbers in work, low inflation and rising business investment. Whilst life for many families remains challenging, pay levels are starting to rise faster than the cost of living. Without the Liberal Democrats in government this recovery would not be happening.

Our policies of cutting taxes for working people, of boosting apprenticeships, of driving up investment in the regions are at the heart of the recovery. Since the Liberal Democrats took office in 2010, 53,900 Guildford residents have enjoyed an £800 pound annual tax cut and 3,100 low earners have been lifted out of paying income tax altogether. There have also been 3,900 new business start- ups in the Guildford area with the benefit of loans to the value of over £150,000 championed by Liberal Democrat policy.

Yet the economic repair is not complete. We aim to find around £30 billion to close the gap between what we spend and what we raise in taxes. However, national insurance, VAT, income tax and corporation tax rates will remain the same. In fact, one of our main acts in the first year of the next Parliament would be to further reduce income tax for millions of workers by raising the personal allowance to £11,000.

The Tories propose to tackle the deficit by cutting public spending alone – this is unfair. It leaves those on low and middle incomes to endure most hardship from the austerity measures. Instead, we ask that those with the broadest shoulders carry their fair share of the burden by increasing taxes.

We will raise £8 billion in tax measures targeted at ensuring the wealthiest continue to make a contribution and that large businesses pay their fair share. These include:

  • introducing a High Value Property Levy;
  • increasing charges for those who own UK property but are not living here;
  • increasing the Banking Levy (an annual tax paid by banks).

Our parliamentary candidate Kelly-Marie Blundell said “This approach is sustainable and fair. It asks something from everyone, but the most from those who have the most. We believe that both the Labour and Tory parties, by themselves, would jeopardise the recovery. The Conservatives’ policy of cuts alone would have damaging social and economic consequences. Whilst Labour has theoretically signed up to tackling the deficit by 2017/18, they appear to have no concrete plans to meet this goal at all. For them, it’s deficit reduction on the ‘never, never’. Our proposal is the only plan that keeps the foundations of our economic recovery intact.”

Charity Quiz on 6th March

The Rotary Club will be holding a quiz to raise money for charity on Friday the 6th of March at St Peter’s School, Horseshoe Lane East, Guildford. People are asked to arrive at 7.15pm for a 7.45pm start.

The quiz is in aid of the Harlow Project and the Royal Surrey County Hospital Charitable Fund along with other Rotary charities. Tickets are priced at £15 including a two course supper and teams should be 4 to 8 people in size. The quiz will include a bar, raffle and prizes.

Anyone interested in tickets should contact Des Flanders (01483 573814) or Martin Grant (01483 454224).

8.3 million families benefit twice from Lib Dem tax cut, new analysis reveals

8.3m families will benefit twice from the Liberal Democrat tax cut, new analysis has revealed.

Thanks to Liberal Democrats increasing the personal tax allowance to £10,600, these families will on average be £1,330 better off each year.

New research using HM Treasury’s tax and benefit model shows that our flagship policy of increasing the amount that people can earn before they pay income tax is vital in creating a fairer society.

Income tax cuts for working people were a top priority for Liberal Democrats when we entered the coalition in 2010 and one which we are proud to have delivered for millions of people.

In government Liberal Democrats have fought tooth and nail to deliver a tax cut worth £825 for more than 26m working people – something which the Conservatives said was not affordable.

And by raising the personal tax allowance to £10,600 we have lifted more than 3m people out of paying tax altogether.

As well as helping families make their money go further we’re also lifting the lowest paid out of paying tax.

By April:

340,000 sales and retail assistants will no longer pay tax.

169,000 care workers and home carers will no longer pay tax.

162,000 cleaners will no longer pay tax.

136,000 catering assistants will no longer pay tax.

91,000 teaching assistants will no longer pay tax.

More details about train station redevelopment

Solum Regeneration, the company behind the planning application to redevelop Guildford train station, held two public exhibitions in January to let people find out more about their plans and to give their views. For those who missed the exhibitions, more details have now been published on their website.

The scheme is planned to cost £150 million and will involve redeveloping the station concourse and building 445 homes and a multi-storey car park.

If you want to give your views on the proposed redevelopment then you can give Solum your views here and you can find the planning application on the council website and officially comment on it here.

Personally speaking, while I’m in favour in principle of improving the railway station (particularly creating more space for bicycles) and building more homes in the town centre, I’m still quite dubious about the wisdom of putting so many new cars on the road right next to the already clogged gyratory and I do think they should be doing a lot more to link up with the bus network. So for me this is a wait and see what the final proposal looks like situation.