North East Connected

Mayoral candidate calls for protection from ‘economic warfare’ in budget

18938North East LEP board member and mayoral candidate Jeremy Middleton called for the 2016 budget to protect the North East against potential ‘economic warfare’ from Scotland, in the wake of it being granted new tax powers.

As part of a package of further devolution measures, following Scotland’s vote to remain in the United Kingdom in 2014, it is now able to set levels of income tax for Scottish residents, and Air Passenger Duty (APD). These new powers have prompted fears that Newcastle International Airport could be permanently damaged by cheap flights from Edinburgh, is Scotland scraps APD and the rest of the UK retains it.

Speaking ahead of the Chancellor’s 2016 budget, Mr Middleton said: “In light of the new devolved tax powers Scotland is getting, the North East needs to be protected. To protect Newcastle Airport I’d like to see Air Passenger Duty scrapped across the UK, or at least pegged to the same rate as Scotland. There is also a risk that Scotland cuts income tax in an attempt to lure businesses and workers from the rest of the UK to relocate there. We need protection against the threat of the SNP enacting this form of economic warfare. ”

“The North East receives seven hundred pounds less funding per head, per year than Scotland, any moves to address this inequality would be really positive for our region. I’m also hoping to hear more about the Help-to-Save  scheme the Government announced earlier in the year, so people who haven’t always been able to, can start putting some money aside for a rainy day.”

“I’m looking for the Government to deliver on its commitment to transform the UK into a high-wage, low-tax economy, and for more investment in the North East. An increase in the minimum wage would be a big boost to many families in the North East, as would tax cuts for low and middle earners.”

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