Last night my agent, Tony Power and I, attended the Candidates and Agents General Election Briefing in the Civic Centre, Bromley. Getting the paperwork sorted to become a candidate in a General Election is much trickier than at first it seems and there are (quite rightly) strict rules that must be followed. Tony and I have to submit my completed nomination papers by 4pm on Thursday 14 November.
I am am starting today much as yesterday - standing outside Shortlands Station with Claire and Councillor Mary Cooke selling poppies for the Royal British Legion. For the rest of the day I am in London; attending the veterans commemoration of Remembrance at St Margaret's Westminster and meeting old friends.
I am sure the subject of BREXIT will come up (it always does with veterans) but maybe something just as important is the current cost of living for people who do not have much money. Our Government can and must do something to help people who are under pressure here. The best way to do that is simple; cut the taxes paid by people; especially those on lower incomes. I am glad my party, the Conservatives, are doing something here.
So now if someone earns below £12,500 a year, he or she will pay no income tax. That is really good news. Anyone existing only on a basic State Pension will pay nothing. Anyone who earns between £12,500 and £50,000 a year will pay 20 per cent tax on their earnings above that £12,500 (the Basic Rate). Most people are in this bracket. Some will pay 40 per cent tax on anything they earn above £50,000 (the Higher Rate) and if they are lucky enough to earn more than £150,000 a year they will pay 45 per cent on the amount of money they get above that amount (the Additional Rate). To me it is a blinding glimpse of the obvious that lowering taxes is a good thing. This taxation system is fair some other political parties seem dead set against people keeping the money they earn.
The National Living wage is being raised to £9 an hour by next year and so are benefits such as job seekers allowance and universal credit. From next April the State Pension will also rise - by about £6.58 a week. Thank Goodness fuel duty is frozen; everyone benefits when that happens.
Personally I think all these changes are great news for those with little money to spare. They are fair and will help reduce the cost of living for so many. These financial measures really have a direct effect - especially on people struggling to get by on not much.