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Chamber detailed Budget response


Nov 23, 2017 #budget, #Government]

Jonathan Walker, head of policy and campaigns, North East England Chamber of Commerce said: “Our campaigning ahead of this Budget has been successful on a number of important issues for the North East.

“We wanted new Metro trains as a matter of priority and are delighted these are now on their way.  As part of our desire to see a more influential North East we had asked for more funding and powers for Tees Valley and completion of a North of Tyne devolution deal.  It is great news that the Chancellor has listened on both of these issues.

“Ahead of the Budget we called on the Government to get serious about the need to change the distribution of investment and economic activity in the UK.  The announcements today are a big step forward but we await the long term shift in Government thinking which will hopefully come forward in the publication of the Industrial Strategy.”

Additional comments on other elements of the Budget

Jonathan Walker added: “We need a working North East and the Budget announcement on funding for the retraining of employees and STEM subjects is an important measure so people develop and update their skills to match industry needs.

“However we were disappointed there was no additional support for careers advice in schools and colleges.

“We welcome the announcement of a further £59m for transport projects which should help deliver the Darlington Northern relief road and start scoping work on a new Tees Crossing.

“The significant investment in the digital sector is good news and with assets including Digital City in Tees Valley, Sunderland Software City and the National Innovation Centre for Data in Newcastle, our region is well placed to capitalise on this.

“The direction of planning reform indicated by the Chancellor seems designed to address issues in the South East where development land is in short supply and the big issue is total housing numbers. In our region we need flexibility to improve the mix of housing and develop in areas where people want to live.  Issues like density and green belt protection are much less relevant here.

“The measures introduced in the Budget which move from RPI to CPI should provide some welcome relief for businesses contending with rising business rates. The change from three to five year revaluation on rates is also good news. Both changes were campaigned for by Chambers nationally.

“We welcome the investment and commitment to electric vehicle infrastructure.  As a global leader in this technology we would hope the North East would stand to benefit.”

By Emily

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