Thursday, 24 March 2011

Budget is a "real boost for North East business"

This a budget which will really fire up our private sector here in the North East. The measures put forward by the Chancellor will help support small business and create a future based on growth and jobs – rather than debt. A clear plan which will boost enterprise across the region with a focus on advanced manufacturing and green energy.

I am pleased the Chancellor has listen to the arguments put forward by many people in North East, myself included, that this must be a budget for growth – and that's exactly what this budget is.

I was especially pleased to hear the Chancellor declare that prosperity must be shared across the whole of the UK and not just focused on London. I welcome that our region will benefit more than any other from the proposed new Enterprise Zones with two out of the ten zones coming to our region in the first wave and offering reduced business rates and relaxed planning rules to boost business.

There is no doubt the measures to simplify tax and red tape will benefit North East business. More than 300 regulations scrapped, 100 pages of tax rules gone and small business freed from new regulations for the next three years will be a huge boost to entrepreneurs in our region. The Chancellor wants to make the UK the most competitive tax system in the G20 for business. Long term we will see the fruits of that in new business investment in our local economy.

These new measures announced today come on top on a programme of investment from in the rebalancing the regions economy. Including a £350 million upgrade of the Tyne & Wear Metro; A grant of £20 million to Nissan to build a new electric vehicle plant in Sunderland; An investment of £30 million for NaREC (National Renewable Energy Centre) in Northumberland; and access to £1.4 billion Regional Growth Fund.

I am very pleased that the Chancellor has introduced a Fair Duty Stabliser as well as the 1 penny per litre cut in fuel duty – all paid for by a tax on oil companies. This won’t transform prices at the pump, but at a time when oil prices round the world are spiking, the Government is trying to ease the burden.

Following on from my 'Skills for Work' campaign to boost vocational training in the region I was pleased to see the Government boost apprenticeships and work experience; increasing the number of work experience places five fold to 100,000 and 50,000 additional apprenticeship places, on top of the 200,000 already planned.

Yesterdays Budget was real help for families, a real boost for business and a fair deal for the North East. By helping families with the cost of living, and backing enterprise this Budget puts fuel into the tank of the British economy.