01 NOV 2018

Budget 2018

Amidst the rowdy rhetoric and political posturing on Budget Day this week, the challenge was in unpicking how the measures will affect our everyday lives here in Kent.

On health funding, I very much welcomed the news of radical investment to ensure both mental and physical conditions are treated with parity. Mental illness is tragically impacting so many lives here in our community and I have been struck by the increase in numbers of people with mental health issues who have attended my constituency surgeries in recent months.

Ahead of the roll-out of Universal Credit across Maidstone & The Weald this month, there will be more financial help for those undergoing the transition from the existing benefits system. My team will be liaising closely with our Job centres to ensure claimants are treated fairly and with care during this process.

Reducing congestion and improving air quality is one of my core priorities. Anyone, who has accessed Maidstone by road at rush hour will know of the desperate need for investment in our town's transport infrastructure. To learn that a substantial £30 billion is to be released to improve Britain's road networks gave me some hope for change, and perhaps some of the new money can be used toward planning a much-needed Southern relief road? Still on roads, there's a serious £420 million to be spent on mitigating our pothole frustrations.

Easing congestion on the routes into Maidstone should help attract more inbound shoppers too and I was pleased to hear that business rates are to be cut by a third, further benefitting small businesses on our High Streets both in Maidstone and in our rural communities, like Staplehurst and Cranbrook.

Tax cuts through changes in personal allowances will directly benefit most of us too, so all-in-all a pretty good budget for Maidstone & The Weald and for Kent.

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