REDDITCH MP Rachel Maclean has welcomed a Budget that promised an end to the "era of austerity".

The MP admitted tough decisions had to be made but welcomed the Chancellor’s Budget, his last Budget before Brexit.

In setting out Government spending for the year ahead, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, announced £20.5billion more funding for the NHS, a £1billion package of measures to support those on Universal Credit, £400million extra for schools this year, an additional £160million for counter terrorism policing, £30billion to improve roads, PFI contracts to be abolished and a cut in business rates for high street and town centre shops.

With the economy continuing to grow, debt forecast to fall every year and the deficit to be cut further, the Chancellor also announced a range of measures to help families cope with the cost of living.

This includes a 4.9 per cent increase in the National Living Wage next April, taking the rate to £8.21 – handing a full-time worker a further £690 annual pay increase.

Fuel duty will also be frozen for the ninth year in a row. Pubs are being supported too with beer duty frozen for the coming year.

The Chancellor also said he will be raising both the Personal Allowance and the Higher Rate Threshold to £12,500 and £50,000, respectively, from April 2019 - delivering the Conservative’s manifesto commitments one year early.

This will put £130 in the pocket of a typical basic rate taxpayer.

However, Jeremy Corbyn said whatever Mr Hammond had claimed, "austerity is not over".

He said what people have heard "are half measures and quick fixes while austerity grinds on".

Mrs Maclean said the Budget delivers on the priorities of hard-working families in Redditch.

She said she has been contacted by a number of constituents calling on the Government to make digital technology firms pay their fair share of tax in the UK.

Yesterday the Chancellor announced the UK will create a UK Digital Services Tax.

This will be designed to ensure digital tech giants, and not tech start-ups, shoulder the burden of this new 2 per cent tax.

The MP said: “The Budget addresses a number of concerns constituents have raised with me over the past few weeks and months. In particular, this includes more than £1billion extra to support my constituents and people across the country who are on Universal Credit.

“Tough decisions had to be made as a result of the mess we inherited from the Labour Party, but the Chancellor has confirmed that austerity is coming to an end. Debt is falling, the deficit is being cut and the economy is continuing to grow.

“As a result of the progress we’ve made these past eight years, the Government is able to increase the National Living Wage further and increase the Personal Allowance Threshold – these two measures alone will enable my constituents to keep more of their hard-earned money."

The Chancellor confirmed the NHS will be receiving £20.5billion extra in funding over the next five years.

Included in the NHS’ long-term plan will be an extra £2billion a year in mental health funding from 2023/24.

The hope is to create mental health crisis centres in every A&E, as well as a 24-hour mental health crisis helpline.

Adult social care will also be receiving an immediate boost in funding. Building on the additional £240million for Social Care winter pressures announced earlier this month, the Chancellor will also make available a further £650million of grant funding for English Councils for 2019/20.

Mrs Maclean said: “As part of our #UnlockRedditch agenda, I worked with the leader of Redditch Borough Council, councillor Matt Dormer, to lobby the Chancellor for more funding for our town centres and a cut in business rates to support our small retailers.

"The Chancellor’s announcement is a huge victory for the #UnlockRedditch campaign."

She added: “Following these funding announcements, I will be working hard to lobby the Government to ensure Redditch and Worcestershire receives its fair share of the funding announced. From extra NHS, social care and school funding, to support for our high streets, I’ll be ensuring my constituents benefit from this boost as much as possible.”

In a speech lasting more than 70 minutes, Mr Hammond said: "We have reached a defining moment on this long, hard journey" after repairing the damage to the public finances.

He described it as a Budget for "the strivers, the grafters and the carers," promising them a "brighter future" after years of constraint.