Budget 2018: Chancellor plans Brexit 50p

The Chancellor’s Budget included a handful of initiatives intended to bolster his statement that ‘the UK is entering a new chapter and the era of austerity is finally coming to an end’, including a special Brexit coin, money for veterans’ charities and funding for community projects

Philip Hammond told the House the Royal Mint has a long-established tradition of producing coins in order to commemorate historic moments, including the 2012 Olympics, the UK’s accession to the European Economic Community, and the centenary of the First World War. In line with this tradition, it will produce a coin to commemorate the UK leaving the EU, to be available in Spring 2019.

The Budget included support for communities to make the most of their local assets and commemorate the First World War and the Holocaust. The government is to provide up to £8m to help with the cost of repairs and alterations to village halls, Miners’ Welfare facilities and Armed Forces organisations’ facilities.

To mark the centenary of the First World War Armistice, the government is committing £10m to support veterans with mental health needs, and will make available an additional £1m for First World War battlefield visits for school students.  It is also giving £1.7m to a charitable organisation for educational projects in schools to mark the upcoming 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Bergen-Belsen concentration camps.

There is £10m of capital funding in England to back the volunteer-led air ambulance services, as well as £420m to local authorities in 2018-19 to tackle potholes, repair damaged roads, and invest in keeping bridges open and safe, and 100% business rates relief for all public lavatories to help keep these local amenities open.

Hammond also announced the relaunch of the so-called ‘millennial rail card’, which was announced in his autumn 2017 Budget and available briefly earlier this year on a limited basis. During the trial only 20,000 people were allowed to buy one and the ticket website crashed because of overwhelming demand from thousands of young people.

A new 26-30 railcard will be introduced by the end of 2018 with universal availability, offering a one-third discount (subject to a minimum £12 fare in the morning peak) to around 4.4m 26 to 30-year-olds in England, Scotland and Wales.

Report by Pat Sweet

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