People living and working across the North East will benefit from today’s Budget as the Conservatives deliver on the promises made to the British people, investing in infrastructure, the NHS and public services across the region.
The plans outlined by Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, mark the start of record level of investment in infrastructure, the NHS and public services – to ensure the promises in the General Election in December are kept and the potential of every part of the United Kingdom, including the North East, is unleashed.
Increases in the National Insurance threshold and the National Living Wage announced today will mean families keep more of the money they earn, while tens of millions of pounds of investment in the region’s roads, rail, housing, broadband and flood defences will ensure everyone can have the same chances and opportunities in life wherever they live.
Thanks to the measures taken today, someone working full-time on the minimum wage in the North East will be over £5,200 better off compared to ten years ago when the Conservatives came into office.
Anne-Marie said: “I am particularly pleased the Chancellor has listened to my representations on red diesel – keeping the rate relief on it for agriculture. This was something really important to farmers across Northumberland. The Chancellor also confirmed that funding remains ready for the A1 dualling – proposals for which have now been submitted to the planning authorities – so that important project for our area remains on track. I was also heartened by the huge boost for small businesses, and the additional support for all those affected by Covid-19.”
The Chancellor announced a package of measures to help those affected by the Covid-19 coronavirus, including enabling people to claim Statutory Sick Pay from day one, and those who cannot claim SSP to have access to Universal Credit or Employment Support Allowance, so those who are self-employed will be able to benefit as well as those who are employees.
Anne-Marie said: “Crucial to our planning for this crisis is ensuring the NHS is able to cope with the huge increase in demand, so that those who are badly affected by this virus are able to access the help they need to recover, and those who are able to stay at home are able to claim sick pay. There is a new £5billion Covid-19 initial support fund for the NHS and for local authorities to support those who are vulnerable. The UK is also leading the way scientifically and an extra £40million is going to rapid research and testing facilities.”
Finally, the Berwick MP hailed the scrapping of the so-called “tampon tax” which can finally be axed now the UK has left the European Union.
Ms Trevelyan said: “I have campaigned for years to scrap this unfair tax on sanitary products, which are not a luxury good. As members of the EU we have been unable to remove this tax. Now we are able to forge our own path and shape our own tax codes and we are taking decisive action.”
Today’s announcements for the North East include:
• Creating a £4.2 billion Local Public Transport Fund for combined authority areas to dramatically improve bus and train services in their areas . We will grant £4.2 billion devolved capital funding to the eight combined authority areas, allowing their elected leaders to invest in dramatically improving local train and bus services. Starting in 2022-23, we will provide a settlement for Tees Valley and Tyne and Wear from this fund.
• Delivering £700 million for major strategic road schemes between 2020 and 2025. This includes building the A1 Morpeth to Ellingham. We will also develop plans to redevelop the A1/A19 junctions north of Newcastle.
• Boosting funding for local road maintenance by £29 million. The North East will receive £29 million in additional funding for local road maintenance through the Potholes Fund in 2020-21.
• Providing £198 million to improve transport across the North East, including the Tyne and Wear Metro System. Provided through the Transforming Cities Fund, the money will be used to improve the frequency and reliability of services, by dualling the remaining sections of the track by investing £95 million in the Metro.
• Improving flood defences to protect more homes from extreme weather events. We are providing £2.5 million for Wallsend, £1.5 million for Chester-Le-Street and £5 million for Hartlepool to better protect over 1,400 properties.
• Providing £12 million to connect more people to full fibre broadband. The funding is part of the third wave of the Local Full Fibre Networks Challenge Fund.
• Supporting research and development in the steel sector. We will provide £22 million, subject to a business case, for the development of R&D in the steel sector through the Materials Processing Institute.
• Supporting the development of more than 4,000 homes. We will invest £25 million from the Housing Infrastructure Fund for the South Sunderland Growth Area Cluster, delivering road and junction improvements to unlock up to 4,066 homes.
• Planting more trees across the region. We will provide £7 million to plant 1 million trees in the Great Northumberland Forest and further funding for the Northern Forest.