Weekly column by Stroud MP Siobhan Baillie

THE Autumn Statement has been examined and digested now by the financial experts so I thought I would explain some of the main points and what they mean for people and businesses across Stroud district.

The Chancellor’s 2% cut in National Insurance from 12% to 10% was the headline grabber. It means a £450 tax cut for the average worker and it will benefit 27 million people.

The pension triple lock has been maintained and will rise by 8.5% or an extra £900 a year - one of the largest ever cash increases ever and welcome news for thousands of older people in the district.

Welfare benefits will also go up by a higher rate than expected too. The rise in the National Living Wage will help those on low incomes. It has gone up from £10.42 to £11.44 an hour. An announcement that went under the radar is the increase in the Local Housing Allowance. This means 1.6 million households will receive £800 million of support.

The allowance will also be for temporary accommodation as it comes at a time of high rents with so many landlords leaving the market. Several charities and organisations asked for this measure.

There was also a freeze on alcohol duty to help Stroud’s pub trade and restaurants.

I have met regularly with our local Federation of Small Businesses representative and our local hospitality and independent traders.

They wanted to see business rates frozen and the Chancellor agreed.

The Chancellor also made full expensing permanent for companies that invest in new equipment and technology. The move should increase annual investment by £3 billion a year and boost productivity.

Self-employed people with profits above £12,570 will no longer be required to pay Class 2 NICs, and it is something to help our plumbers, sparks, hairdressers and carpenters, among others. My own asks for the Chancellor were largely successful.

Alongside the chair of UK Hospitality, I asked for the freezes on alcohol duty and business rates for small businesses. I also asked for apprenticeship levy reform, which didn’t happen, but £50m into apprenticeships isn’t too bad at all.