'Sadly, a great deal of uncertainty and conflict exists around the world' - Nigel Huddleston MP's Westminster Diary - The Evesham Observer

'Sadly, a great deal of uncertainty and conflict exists around the world' - Nigel Huddleston MP's Westminster Diary

Evesham Editorial 18th Feb, 2024 Updated: 18th Feb, 2024   0

JANUARY marked the start of a busy year in Parliament and the start of a busy year in global politics, with many elections due to take place in the UK and around the world.

But, sadly, a great deal of uncertainty and conflict exits around the world including in the Middle East and in Ukraine.

The UK continues to provide aid to Gaza and has repeated its support for expanded humanitarian access, the release of hostages, and steps towards a sustainable ceasefire following the terrorist attack on Israel last October.

In the Red Sea, the UK, together with coalition forces, carried out strategic targeted strikes on Houthi sites in retaliation to continued Houthi attacks on commercial shipping.

In domestic news, the Government introduced on January 6 a significant cut in National Insurance contributions, from 12 per cent to 10 per cent.

Saving the average worker £450 per year, this cut will benefit some 27million people across the country including tens of thousands in Worcestershire.

As Financial Secretary to the Treasury, I was proud to play my part in introducing this cut. The self-employed will see their NI tax cuts come into being in April.

In my ministerial capacity, I have been leading the Finance Bill through line-by-line scrutiny in the House of Commons.

Measures in the Bill will incentivise businesses to invest in plant and machinery and encourage research and development in the UK.

I also supported an amendment to the Building Societies Act of 1986, which will ensure their contribution to the economy in the future.

Meanwhile, I welcomed the Government’s announcement of the £600million funding boost to local authorities. In my regular meetings with Worcestershire County Council, significant pressures in areas such as adult and children’s social care, as well as home to school transport, has become increasingly clear.

This significant funding announcement will help alleviate the pressures our local authorities are currently experiencing and the boost will particularly help predominantly rural constituencies such as ours, with a 15 per cent increase to the Rural Services Grant.

Balancing my ministerial duties with those as the MP for Mid Worcestershire, I have enjoyed many engagements in the constituency over the last few weeks including several visits to schools and businesses – but some particular highlights included planting the first two of 60 cherry trees across Wychavon as part of the Sakura Cherry Tree Project, and attending the annual wassailing event in Bretforton.

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