There was a collective sigh of relief as funding on key public services was protected and the proposed changes to tax credits were reversed altogether. I support the move to a higher National Living Wage of £9 per hour which will be a big boost to those on low pay in Cornwall. Once we get there people won't have to fill out complicated forms to get money back in tax credits because they will be earning what they need to live. But until we start to see wages going up, tax credits will remain important to many in Camborne, Redruth and Hayle, so I am pleased that George Osborne listened and reversed his original proposal.
The tough decisions taken in previous years to get the country's finances back on an even keel and get the economy growing again are starting to pay dividends. As a result, the Treasury will have tax receipts that are £27 billion higher than previously expected and George Osborne used that dividend to help our public services.
The NHS budget will be increased again. The schools budget is protected and there is a commitment to overhaul the unfair funding formula that gives Cornish schools less than they deserve. The dire warnings on the police budget proved unfounded. Instead the police budget has been protected in real terms which means we can keep our excellent community policing teams. In the department where I am a Minister, we kept the £50 water bill rebate for Cornwall and protected funding for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty around our coast. Finally, as we face uncertain times internationally, it was right to give a boost to our armed forces and security services so they have what they need to fight terrorism.