Update from Westminster and Northumberland
Good morning everyone. There has been a lot of Budget news this week (you can read my Budget update HERE if you missed it) but here is what else has been going on that you may have missed.
Great news from my colleague Liz Truss that the UK and US have agreed a new joint approach to the longstanding trade conflict over aerospace tariffs.
The United States will temporarily suspend all retaliatory tariffs on direct exports from the UK to the US resulting from the Airbus dispute for four months, in an effort to reach a negotiated solution to the 16- year long dispute. This measure will come into force on Monday 8 March, backdated to today (4 March).
In 2018, the year before the tariffs were imposed, the US imported around £550m of goods affected by these measures from the UK. The tariff suspension will help protect jobs on both sides of the Atlantic in industries who have been targeted by these unfair tariffs, particularly Scotch whisky. Scotch was the UK’s largest food and drink export in 2020, and exports of single malt Irish and Scotch whiskies to the US were worth around £340m in 2018.
This follows the UK’s decision to suspend Boeing tariffs against the US from January, a show of good faith which ensured the UK was not hit by further tariffs and allowed both countries to work on ending the dispute and focus on deepening our future trading relationship.
I want to take this opportunity to thank Newcastle business True Potential for their incredibly generous donation of laptops to Duchess’s High school in Alnwick. Not only did this support remote learning but it will be of great benefit to local school pupils beyond this lockdown.
The new co-headteachers said of the donation: "We feel very lucky to have been in receipt of such a generous community response during this crisis. This and other kind donations allow us to best support children in accessing online learning during lockdown and then during the recovery curriculum in the months ahead. We would like to thank True Potential and all other kind donors that have made such a difference."
I’d also like to thank Alnwick councillor Gordon Castle (pictured with the two co-headteachers) who helped connect the business to the school. It is a great example of business and communities working together to find quick solutions to benefit all of us.
This week my BEIS colleague Kwasi Kwarteng introduced a new Parliamentary Bill to establish the Advanced Research and Invention Agency (ARIA), an independent UK scientific research agency that will fund cutting-edge science and technology.
What we have seen from the success of the Vaccine Taskforce, is enabling our scientists to make quick funding decisions - sometimes ones that seem high-risk - without being tied down by red tape, can reap incredible rewards for research, development and the British people.
The Bill will equip ARIA to develop technologies at speed and great flexibility. You can read more HERE.
My animation on the roadmap out of lockdown restrictions.