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Westminster Column

This is a tough time for many families in Sutton Coldfield. The Coalition Government is on the side of people who work hard and want to get on in life and has introduced a number of measures to help hard-pressed households:

  • We have cut Income Tax for 25 million people and taken 1.1 million out of tax so far;
  • We took immediate action on Fuel Duty to ensure it will be 10 pence lower than it would have been under Labour, helping save £144 on filling up the average family car by the end of this year;
  • We froze Council Tax for 2 years – a real terms cut this year for Councils who take up the offer. This will save an average family up to £72 a year on a Band D home, on top of last year’s freeze;
  • We capped Housing Benefit so taxpayers will no longer be subsidising some families to get over £100,000 per year in Housing Benefit to live in areas that they themselves cannot afford;
  • We capped out-of-work benefits. It is simply not fair that households on benefits should receive a greater income from the state than the average working household receives in wages;
  • We introduced the biggest ever cash increase (£5.30 per week) to the Basic State Pension. The Government introduced a “triple lock” which guarantees that the Basic State Pension will always increase either in line with earnings, inflation or 2.5% - whichever is the highest. This will make the average pensioner £15,000 better off over the course of their retirement;
  • We increased Child Tax Credit by 5.2% in April 2012, representing a cash increase of £135.
  • We are committed to making work pay. The Government is introducing the Universal Credit from 2012 which will replace the current complex system of means-tested benefit, meaning it will pay to go into work, rather than stay on benefits.


As well as helping families, we know that small businesses are the engine room of our economy and critical to future economic growth. I wanted to take this opportunity to let local start-up businesses and entrepreneurs know about a business action competition in Birmingham later this year. The Conservative Party's annual conference is once again coming to Birmingham between 7-10 October 2012, a real endorsement of the vibrancy of the city, and will be hosting a "Start-up Hub" which will provide the opportunity for 12 new businesses to showcase their work in front of thousands of delegates, the nation’s media and business leaders from across the country.

If you want to compete to be one of the 12 new businesses taking part in the hub, application details can be found online at: www.conservatives.com/startuphub Closing date for applications is 30 June 2012. Winners will be chosen by a panel of senior businessmen.

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