YEOVIL MP David Laws has welcomed the measures announced by the Chancellor in his annual Budget statement earlier to the House of Commons earlier today.

In his statement, the Chancellor announced a package of measures aimed to reinforce the economic recovery and provide a helping hand to those who are having to work hard to make ends meet.

A key announcement was made on the basic income tax threshold, which will rise by £630 to £8,105 next year.

Around 25 million basic and higher rate tax payers will gain from this allowance increase by £126 next year, and a further 260,000 will be taken out of income tax altogether.

This is on top of a £1,000 increase in the tax free allowance this April.

In the face of current high oil prices, the Chancellor also announced that fuel duty would be cut by 1p per litre, and a fair fuel stabiliser would be introduced so that during future periods of high oil prices fuel duty will be kept down.

Other important measures announced in the budget include the use of public money to support households facing high water bills, particularly those in the South West Water area.

Mr Laws said: "This budget will provide much needed support to the economic recovery, and to those families who are struggling to manage during these tough times.

“I am particularly pleased with the Government’s commitment to a further rise in the personal allowance, which will benefit thousands of low and middle-income households.

"This has been a key priority of the Liberal Democrats, and we have argued hard in Government to see this commitment become a reality.

“Somerset also has much to benefit from in today’s budget. We have all seen the knock-on effect that high oil prices have had at the fuel pumps.

"High fuel costs always hit rural communities like ours particularly badly. The announced cut in fuel duty and introduction of the fair fuel stabiliser will provide much needed relief to those dependent on cars in our area.

“Many local households will also be delighted to learn that the Government intends to support those in the South West Water area facing high-water bills. Excessively-high water costs have been an on-going problem in our region, and I am pleased that the Government is taking action to address this issue.

“I believe this budget is the right step forward in our drive to stimulate sustainable and balanced economic growth, and my party colleagues and I will continue to ensure that the most vulnerable in our society are protected as we continue to tackle the public deficit.”