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Cumbria’s MPs have given a positive response to the Autumn Statement given by Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne.
Westmorland MP, Tim Farron, has welcomed provisions within the Autumn Statement which he claims will help benefit residents across the South Lakes and support those who are worst off while continuing to promote a stable economic recovery.
During his statement the Chancellor acknowledged the difficulties faced by those living in rural areas and announced that the planned 3p rise in fuel duty will not go ahead at this stage, which is a welcome relief for many across the South Lakes who rely on their cars to enable them to get about in their day to day lives.
Also included in the statement this afternoon were:
- An additional £1billion for the Regional Growth Fund;
- £30 billion extra investment into the UK's infrastructure, including the electrification of railway lines across the Pennines;
- An extension of free childcare up until the age of 2 for the poorest 20% of families in Britain; and
- An additional 15% bank tax which will bring in an additional £300million for the economy.
Mr Farron said: "I'm hugely relieved that the Government has recognised the impact a rise in fuel duty would have for all of us who live in rural areas and rely on our cars in order to do our day to day business. I was one of those who proposed the motion this month to keep down fuel costs, and I'm delighted that we have won a small victory.
"Amidst the uncertainty and instability that is plaguing economies across the developed world, today's statement is helping to ensure that Britain remains a haven of economic stability. Things are not easy at the moment and thousands of local people are feeling the pinch and fear for their families' future, but it is clear that the Lib Dems are making their mark in Government by protecting those who need our support the most while ensuring that everything is being done to keep bring our borrowing down, keep cutting the deficit and keep the stability our economy needs at this time."
Penirth and the Border MP Rory Stewart said: "The Chancellor has brought a bold series of measures to remove red-tape and restrictions in our economy. This is vitally important. We learnt this morning that our debt challenge is even greater than we thought because the boom was even bigger, the bust even deeper, and the effects will last even longer than anyone had thought.
“I was particularly pleased to hear him announce his support for the measures we have been championing and piloting in Cumbria. In particular, I welcome his confirmation that 90 per cent of homes will get superfast broadband and 99 per cent will get mobile coverage as well as his excellent credit easing scheme, which will reduce borrowing costs for SMEs - which employ 92 per cent of the private sector employees in Penrith and the Border.
“And I was particularly pleased that in response to our campaign and the debate last week, the Chancellor has cancelled the fuel duty increase planned for January. This will save British families more than £144 on filling up the average family car by the end of next year. But it will save Cumbrian families much more due to our sparse population, rural isolation and our dependence on the car."
Restoring confidence will be critical to unlocking business investment and growth said Michael Izza, Chief Executive of ICAEW, commenting on the Autumn Statement.
He said: “The test for today’s Autumn Statement will be whether or not it gives businesses reasons to invest in the UK’s economic future. The combination of credit easing and other specific measures could be a lifeline to businesses, particularly SMEs who are currently struggling. However, companies will not be prepared to take on more debt until they have more confidence about the medium to long term outlook.”
Sumita Shah, Technical Manager from ICAEW Audit and Assurance Faculty, said “Whole of Government Accounts will enable the public to see how their money is being spent, and how public assets are managed – something that is even more crucial given the current economic climate. This is a powerful new tool which parliament and the public can use to scrutinise public spending and understand our future financial obligations and to manage future public debt.”