The Chancellor's Autumn Statement announced the biggest business tax cut in modern history, and the largest ever tax cut for workers.

The Chancellor has been able to do that because of the careful, long-term decisions the Conservative government has taken – prioritising stability by halving inflation, growing the economy, and reducing debt.

I wanted to touch on some of the headline matters from last week’s statement, based on the issues raised with me in recent constituency surgeries and correspondence.

The state pension will rise by 8.5%, in line with our Triple Lock – ensuring dignity in older age for those who have worked their entire lives. I repeatedly emphasise with the Prime Minister and Chancellor the importance of restoring the Triple Lock to help protect pensioners' spending power because it offers vital economic security for many people in East Devon. Meanwhile, working age benefits will increase by 6.7%.

I was particularly pleased to hear about support for our fantastic hospitality industry – the pubs, B&Bs, hotels, restaurants, cafes, and attractions that make East Devon such a great place to live and work. As head of the cross-party group in Parliament for the tourism and hospitality industries, I pushed the Chancellor to extend the 75% business rates discount until 2025 and freeze the small business rates multiplier. I am really pleased that the Chancellor listened and acted. This will be a well-deserved pre-Christmas good news boost for the publicans, hoteliers, and high street shop owners that are the backbone of our local economy. And not to forget – all alcohol duty will be frozen until August next year.

The most eye-catching measure from the Chancellor was the cut in national insurance by 2% for more than 27 million people. With these national insurance tax cuts, the typical teacher will be better off by over £630, while the typical self-employed plumber will be better off by over £410. And next April, all full-time workers on the National Living Wage will get a pay rise of over £1,800 a year.

Finally, the Autumn Statement confirmed the government is going full steam ahead to agree a devolution deal with Devon and Torbay. This means transferring more power to us from Whitehall so the best decisions can be made to help local communities.

The Autumn Statement protects pensioners, boosts our local small businesses, cuts taxes, and rewards hard work. That’s my type of Conservatism, which is also about long-term investment into our country and county.

20 projects in the South West have now received Levelling Up Fund money, totalling £409 million. These projects are being turbocharged and funded by this Conservative government.

It was welcome to hear that two extra projects were announced last week, in Plymouth and Torbay.

As regular readers will know, Exmouth has £15.7 million of government funding to deliver the Dinan Way road extension to cut congestion.

The government funding boost will also be used to regenerate the area around Exmouth Railway Station, and you can have your say on proposals in the public consultation which is open until 5th January 2024.

I believe in working with communities to get things done for our great South West region. Since I was elected in 2019, I have helped secure a new school to replace Tipton St John Primary, £15.7m from the Levelling Up Fund, a new police station for Exmouth, the planned reopening of Honiton’s police enquiry desk, and a confirmed banking hub for Sidmouth. I’ve also been campaigning for more pothole repairs and the government has delivered £6.6 million extra to Devon this autumn, topping up £9.4 million secured in March.

I’ve always wanted to make it easier for residents to speak to me about what they want to see in our area. It’s why I have a dedicated local office in Exmouth that is open to the public and have held surgeries across the constituency. Please do get in touch!