“Ready for Christmas?” The three little words that send a chill down my spine. I’m not even “ready for Christmas” on Dec 24th, so the sudden appearance of Christmas decorations in the shops are already sending me into a mild panic. The rational thing would be to start buying now - as many of you sensibly do - but some of us are just destined to leave it to the last minute and I know that has consequences: one year I decided my family should all get charitable donations in their names. To say that was well received is the most charitable way of describing the response.
But, the Chancellor is clearly not thinking about home either as he gave us a really thoughtful budget.
There are going to be two major positive results for our towns coming out of this budget: 1. Support for our high streets and their independent retailers and 2. Greater provision to help working families on Universal Credit.
Amber at the Westfield Christmas Lights
I always choose to do my Christmas shopping on our high streets and at our markets - we have such a wide range of independent retailers who wholeheartedly get into the festive spirit. This year I am hoping to make it to the Christmas Curiosity Bazaar at Sussex Coast College on the 1st of December, as well as our lovely Rye Christmas market on the 8th of December. I believe it is important that Government backs our high streets and the business owners who make them such busy and fun places to be. This is why everyone should be pleased to hear that business rates for retailers valued under £51,000 will be cut by one third. This includes the vast majority of our high street retailers, who will get the opportunity to save up to £8,000 more each year.
Backing business is the right way to encourage success in our communities, but we must also be there to help those who need additional support. Hastings is a community with unique needs, and it is with this in mind that the Government has announced £1.7 billion more for working families on Universal Credit. The work allowance will be increased, meaning that families can earn more money from a job before losing benefits. This will be good for those who receive Universal Credit in our communities, as there will be more money in their pockets while encouraging the world of work to pursue a fulfilling career.
I hope that as our weather gets colder, we can all spend more time with our family and friends. Personally, I will be enjoying a fireworks display!
With best wishes for the coming winter,
Amber Rudd MP
Hastings and Rye