Budget 2010 announces further action the Government will be taking in the South West, including:
- To increase the support available to families with young children and to continue to drive progress in tackling child poverty, from April 2012 the Child Tax Credit for each child aged 1 and 2 will be increased by £4 per week. 65,000 families in the South West are expected to benefit.
- To encourage people to save for the future, the first Saving Gateway accounts will be available in July 2010, offering people the chance to receive 50p from the Government for each £1 they save. 565,000 people in South West are expected to benefit.
- Additional payments alongside the Winter Fuel Payment will be repeated in 2011. Payments will be worth £100 for households with someone aged 80 or over and £50 for households with someone over female State Pension Age. 880,000 households in South West will benefit, of which 320,000 contain someone aged 80 or over.
- On 11 March the Chancellor launched Moneymadeclear nationally, providing free impartial information and guidance on personal finance issues online and over the phone in South West. The service has been piloted in the North East and North West since last April and the Government and the FSA have together committed £20m for the service in 2011 enabling it to help one million people by March 2011.
- Continued support to homeowners by freezing the interest rate used to calculate Support for Mortgage Interest (SMI) payments at 6.08% for a further 6 months, until December 2010. Based on the most recent available regional data, the number expected to benefit in South West is 15,900.
- HMRC will continue to offer the Business Payment Support Service allowing viable businesses in temporary financial difficulty to spread their tax payments over an agreed timetable. 31,300 arrangements have been reached through this Time to Pay scheme with businesses in South West to allow them more time to pay their tax.
- A temporary increase in the level of small business rate relief, enabling Eligible businesses occupying properties with rateable values up to £6,000 will pay no business rates for one year from 1 October 2010. Businesses with rateable values up to £12,000 will receive significant reductions. This measure will benefit over half a million small businesses in England, including many small businesses in South West.
- £60 million for infrastructure development, to meet the needs of offshore wind turbine manufacturers looking to locate new facilities in the UK. The wind energy industry employs around 5,500 people in South West.
These schemes build upon actions and investments that are already being undertaken in South West to support businesses and families, including:
- All 18-24 year olds who have been claiming Jobseeker's Allowance for 6 months or more now have access to the Young Person's Guarantee, providing a guaranteed job, work experience or training. It is estimated that 28,435 people in the South West are benefiting. And from next month, participation will be mandatory, ensuring no young person is left behind.
- Around 590,000 families and 1,050,000 children are benefiting from the January 2009 increase in Child Benefit.
- Alongside this year’s Winter Fuel Payment, households with someone aged over 80 have received an additional payment worth £100, and households with someone aged over 60 have received an additional £50. Around 850,000 households in the South West have benefited, including 220,000 households containing someone aged 80 or over.
- Over 31,200 agreements, worth nearly £420m, made through the Business Payment Support Service have enabled businesses in the region to spread their tax payments over a timetable they can afford.
- The Enterprise Finance Guarantee Scheme enables up to £1.3bn of bank lending to small and medium-sized businesses across the UK, the scheme has, to date, meant that nearly £73m of eligible applications from 792 firms in the South West have been granted, are being processed, or assessed.
- The Pre-Budget Report 2009 announced that the temporary increase to the threshold for empty property relief (EPR) will be extended for a further year. For 2010/11, the threshold at which an empty property becomes liable for business rates will be £18,000. This is estimated to cover 77% of empty business properties in the region.
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- 5 Health centres became operational in May and July totalling more than £100m. 4 more became operational between November – December 2009 at a total of over £70m. The centres varied from heart institutes, primary care centres, cancer centres and community health centres;
- The regeneration of Gloucester docks has led to some 7700sq metres of retail space being provided.