This week, the Chancellor of the Exchequer set out his plans for tax and spending, and a whole raft of measures that will have a positive impact on us. Here are some important announcements that are worth a closer look.

Firstly, some important indicators. Our economic growth forecasts have been revised up for next year from 1.3 per cent to 1.6 per cent and Employment has been revised up – with 800,000 more jobs in 2023 than previously forecast. This means we can now concentrate on the future with support for our public services, help for household budgets, and investment for the long-term to deliver higher living standards as our economy grows.

We have fully funded the Prime Minister’s NHS cash settlement that was set out in June. This means £20.5 billion more in real terms by 2023-24, and an average real growth rate in the NHS’s budget of 3.4 per cent a year, which bring us real benefit here in Swindon.

There will also be £2 billion more per year for mental health to help achieve equality of treatment between mental and physical health services. It means anyone experiencing a crisis can call NHS 111 24/7, more mental health ambulances, increased community support and comprehensive support at every major A&E by 2024. The Chancellor announced an end to the use of Private Finance Initiatives such as the costly one created for GWH by Labour, and announced a review into existing schemes. I warmly welcome this opportunity to help our local hospital's finances.

We will see £400 million more for schools during this academic year. We are allocating £10,000 to the average primary and £50,000 to the average secondary to help schools buy more equipment.

An additional £1 billion will be allocated for defence. This will ensure our world-class Armed Forces can face the new threats that are emerging, and that we build on the UK’s record of spending more on defence than any NATO member except the USA.

We will be increasing the National Living Wage by nearly 5 per cent, from £7.83 to £8.21. This will deliver a £690 annual pay rise to full-time workers, taking the total annual pay rise since its introduction to £2,750.

I was very pleased to see more support for our local shops by cutting business rates by a third for two years. Rates will be cut by a third for retailers with a rateable value under £51,000, meaning that up to 90 per cent of all shops will save up to £8,000 each year.

£28.8 billion will be set aside for England’s largest roads – the biggest-ever single cash investment. This will be the first time ever that all ‘road tax’ will be spent on roads, increasing Highways England’s budget by 40 per cent. There will also be an immediate £420 million for immediate road repairs to potholes, which is further good news.

The planned increases to income tax allowances have been brought forward to April 2019, meaning that more people will see direct tax cuts, and no-one earning under £12,500 per year will pay income tax. The Budget was a positive set of measures that will help our economy grow. That is the best way to raise the income that we need to pay for our public services, which is a tried and tested Conservative approach.