Chancellor of the Exchequer, Kwasi Kwarteng announced a raft of new measures to boost the UK economy today. This included a tax cut worth £285 on average for workers in the Borders.
The Scottish Government is also set to receive a boost to its coffers of around £630 million, allowing them to cut income tax in Scotland or increase spending as they see fit.
The government also finalised plans for the Energy Price Guarantee which will save the average household in the Borders £1000 on their energy bills in the next year. This is in addition to the £400 discount already announced, and the targeted support for more vulnerable households.
Investment Zones will also be set up across the UK. Each Investment Zone will offer generous, targeted and time limited tax cuts for businesses and liberalised planning rules to release more land for housing and commercial development. John Lamont MP hopes to meet UK Government ministers in the coming days to understand how this policy will be delivered in Scotland.
Alcohol duty will be frozen once again, boosting pubs and the Scotch whisky industry. The Scotch Whisky Association said that ‘the duty freeze will not only support our sector, but the hospitality industry and the wider economy.’
In a boost for Borders textile producers, VAT free shopping will be made easier for international tourists who tend to buy luxury goods such as knitwear.
John Lamont MP said:
“It is right that the UK Government has announced such a huge package of measures to combat rising energy prices. This means that the average household in the Borders will save £1400 on their energy bills this year, with vulnerable households receiving even more.
“Not only that, there is a host of tax cuts to help boost the economy, including National Insurance contributions.
“This will mean that thousands of workers in the Borders will receive a tax cut worth around £285 a year from November.
“I am glad to see the government also heed the calls of Scottish MPs like me who have been lobbying for alcohol duty to be frozen. This is so important for our local pubs as well as the Scotch whisky industry.
“With the UK Government now delivering even more money for the Scottish Government, there are big decisions to be made about how they will help families up and down the country, whilst ensuring the Scottish tax system remains equitable.”
Rachael Hamilton MSP said:
“Today’s announcements from the Chancellor will come as a huge relief to millions across the UK. The onus is now on the Scottish Government to step up and match the Chancellor’s actions to allow hard working people to keep more of what they earn.
“The UK Government have already stepped up with a huge package of support to help families and businesses in the Borders and across Scotland with their energy bills.
“The measures announced today will grow the economy by allowing firms to reinvest freed-up cash.
“Making VAT free shopping for international tourists easier will be fantastic news for the textiles industry in the Borders. I am especially pleased to hear this after raising the importance of the Borders’ textile industry in a recent Holyrood debate.
“The SNP Government have shown that economic growth is not their priority, as Scotland remains the highest taxed part of the UK. I am calling on the SNP to pass on tax cuts to end the cycle of stagnation here in Scotland.”