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UK News

Chancellor extends Cathedral Renovation Fund

The money was previously set aside for repairs in Cathedrals but will now open up to churches.

The move's been welcomed by the National Churches Trust.

Chairman Luke March said: "The announcement of a £15 million Roof Repair Fund for the UK's churches will be warmly welcomed by communities across the country. Churches, chapels and meeting houses are some of the most beautiful buildings in the country and this funding will help to bring more of them back to their full glory.

"The National Churches Trust particularly welcomes the fact that this funding will be available to listed churches throughout the United Kingdom. It is a welcome recognition by the government of the desperate needs of many of these buildings and the extra money will make headway in tackling the vital repairs needed – which have been estimated at over £60 million for the Church of England's listed churches alone." 

Elsewhere, a huge overhaul of the way stamp duty's paid has been revealed.

Speaking in the Commons, Mr Osborne revealed from midnight it'll be graduated like income tax - saving money for 98 per cent of people buying a home.

He said the economy is still growing despite suggesting the UK's deficit's still too big and appealed for voters to let him "finish the job".

But Labour accused him of a 'smokescreen'.

Other highlights

- Fuel duty to be frozen

- Air Passenger Duty to be scrapped for under-16s

- Personal tax allowance to increase to £10,600 next April

- Higher rate income tax threshold to rise to £42,385 next year

- Inheritance tax cut for families of aid workers who die

Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls said: "Without decisive action to sustain growth, get the living standards rising and recovery for the many not the few he's going to carry on missing his deficit targets year after year."

Speaking about the opposition Mr Osborne said: "Their predictions are wrong. The deficit is falling this year and every year.

"Not only that but in the final four years of the forecast, borrowing is actually lower than predicted in the budget"

Speaking about the Autumn Statement on Premier's Politics Today programme, Christian Liberal Democrat MP John Pugh claimed the public has become less expectant of these speeches.

He said: "People have got more realistic over the last few years therefore won't be expecting lavish promises.

"But I think they can justifiably look to the Chancellor to map them away out of the current difficulties and to a better economic environment for themselves and their family."

And Christian Tory MP David Burrowes praised the Chancellor for what he's doing with economy. He said: "We've made progress in relation to the economy. We had to sort out the huge mess in terms of the public finances and get us back on track.

"He will keep on that long term economic plan and recognises there's a long way to go."

You can listen to Politics Today with Martyn Eden on Wednesday at 10pm.

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