Ben Howlett is the National Chairman of Conservative Future.
This week the Chancellor announced one of the most aspirational and radical Budgets this country has seen in decades. It was a Budget that supports families, one that was unashamedly supportive of business and primarily supportive of those who want to do better for themselves and their families.
Over the last year, Conservative Future has been championing the agenda of aspiration as a core area for the Government to focus on. The overwhelming majority of grassroots members are very pleased to hear the Chancellor stand up for those people who want to better themselves. The Government is clearly trying to create a society of entrepreneurialism and it is beginning to succeed; one where growth is at the heart of the economic message. Just contrast this to the Budgets of Labour, ever-increasing borrowing with no way of paying it back and allowing people to stay in poverty without any genuine incentive to rise up the ladder of aspiration.
This was not just an aspirational budget, it was a progressive budget too; one where the neediest within society received more support in a fairer way. For young working people the change to the personal tax allowance up to £9,205 from April 2013 enables 880,000 people to be lifted out of tax altogether. Young people have been freed from a tax system allowing them now to save and invest for the future. People like myself who do not have a pension, working in the private sector, can use that money to invest in their futures. They can use the money to help support local economies by spending the money in local shops and businesses. This has a great effect on helping young people understand that this government is providing a society of economic aspiration to achieve their own potential.
One of the best things for young people to come out of the Chancellor’s Budget is the emphasis placed on young people to enter into business. This Government is introducing enterprise ‘Micro Loans’ to support young people in setting up their own businesses. Like students receive support to enter into higher education through the Students Loans Company, this budget has announced additional funds to encourage entrepreneurialism among young potential businessmen. This will help to tackle youth unemployment and boost the economy. The Government hopes 3,000-5,000 young entrepreneurs could receive such funds.
Everything from scrapping the damaging 50p tax rate by creating five times the amount of revenue to the Exchequer, to creating a revolution in the tax system, enables Britain to become competitive again. This is a stark contrast to the dampeners on growth imposed by the previous Labour Government. They presided over an overly regulated, bureaucratic nightmare. The effect for younger people was fewer jobs, less opportunity and less aspiration. The effect of this budget on you and me as well as every young person in the country is more investment in Britain, a growth in private sector business, more investment, more jobs and more support to those that need it most. In two years this Government has done so much to reverse the hardship created by the previous Labour Government. Young people now face a future where their hard work is recognised by the state, the tax system and society. No longer will Britain be run by the leftists who believe in handing out monetary rewards to those who have not put in the effort to receive it. It will be run by a society of the “can do”.
For the third time this Chancellor has produced not a budget of short-term whims or schemes, but a budget for the long-term: one of economic pragmatism that is right in the national interest and right for the long-term interest by fostering a society of entrepreneurialism and aspiration for young people. This Budget tells the world Britain is open for business.