Last week was another busy one in Parliament. On Wednesday, the Chancellor announced his Budget to deliver for families and businesses and stimulate growth in 2023. It has been a challenging year for so many, and this Budget provides vital support at this time as well as steps to grow our national and local economies.
We have faced big challenges in recent years, with the coronavirus pandemic and war in Ukraine. Despite this, our local economy has continued to do well. Since 2020, wages are up, unemployment is down and youth unemployment is down. Thousands more people in our constituency are in work than back in 2010.
Recently our community received a shot in the arm with the award of £63 million to improve Dover’s Port, roads and skills. This will boost our infrastructure and provide new opportunities for training, skills, jobs and money for our area.
My Budget Day speech to Parliament highlighted the three measures in the Budget that will make a particular impact in Dover and Deal. First the freeze on fuel duty and continued energy support will really help families with the cost of living. Given how much we rely on cars in our area, the recent increases in fuel prices have been a real worry. I have strongly supported the campaign to freeze fuel duty and I am delighted that the Chancellor has done so.
Global shocks to energy supplies have caused energy prices to soar. The Government’s Energy Price Guarantee has helped households and businesses. The scheme’s extension was very good news. The expansion of free childcare will aid parents and children here in Dover & Deal.
An important announcement in the Budget was support for older workers – to persuade those working to stay and those who have retired to come back. Key to this is treating older workers fairly. That’s why tomorrow I am presenting a Bill in Parliament which seeks to end age discrimination for older workers. The reform would mean companies would no longer be allowed to take away vital workplace benefits such as healthcare insurance and death in service benefits from workers who carry on working past retirement age.
There are now more workers working over the age of 65 than ever before. There are a million over 65s now in employment. The number continues to rise. Older workers who choose to stay in the workplace past the age of retirement must be treated fairly. These workers have skills and knowledge gained over many years. A fair deal for older workers will encourage them to stay and benefit the companies they work for.
This Budget shows that the Government is continuing to support and deliver for Dover and Deal. I will keep working hard to secure more jobs and money as well as a fair deal for older workers.