16th March 2015
In advance of the Budget, Copeland MP, Jamie Reed has called on the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, to deliver a ‘budget for Copeland’. Jamie Reed MP has outlined the measures that the Chancellor should announce in order for Copeland, West Cumbria and Cumbria as a whole to fulfill its economic potential.
The Copeland MP has called for action on four key themes: skills and education; infrastructure; health care and local governance
Copeland MP and Labour’s Shadow Health Minister, Jamie Reed MP said:
“West Cumbria is on the verge of a transformative era that will see billions of pounds of investment, tens of thousands of new jobs and the emergence of our area as a world leader in high-skilled engineering, manufacturing and R&D. We are about witness investment on an Olympic scale, and the Government should use this budget to ensure we have the tools we need to deliver on our ambitions after five years of savage cuts to our area from George Osborne.
“We need to see more investment in developing skills for local people and our young people to ensure that we can truly benefit from the work we have put in: I expect to see investment going into nuclear skills and have repeatedly made this call, but our local secondary schools require significant investment after the government withdrew the Building Schools for the Future money – almost £70m – allocated by the last government. We also need to see the Chancellor support my calls for improvements to the A595 and join our ‘Drive for Growth’ so that we can achieve our economic potential. We are building a 21st Century economy, but are stuck with 19th Century infrastructure.
“We also need to see healthcare services that work for the community. The Cumbrian health economy faces significant challenges and has been hit by cuts from a Government that promised to protect budgets. The Chancellor must right this wrong and give the NHS the resources it needs instead of continuing to pursue real-terms cuts with a smoke and mirrors exercise. George Osborne will have to go some way to replace the money that was taken from the new hospitals projects in Millom, Maryport, Keswick and elsewhere immediately after the last general election.
“Finally, the Chancellor must address the issue of local governance. Funding for Copeland Borough Council and Cumbria County Council has been stripped to the bone and services are under increasing pressure. Copeland Borough Council is unsustainable in its current form with its current funding. The Chancellor must ensure that local government has the resources it needs to fulfill its functions and to support a growing community, included in the budget should be some assessment of the likely money that will be required to implement radical and overdue local government reform in Cumbria.
“West Cumbria’s best days are ahead of us, and the government should use the budget to back our plans to help us achieve our full potential and become one of the fastest growing regional economies anywhere in the country. If George Osborne wants to see a real northern powerhouse – rather than treating the north of England as a forgotten province after five years of inflicting damage upon it – then he should back my calls for investment. We’ve heard enough empty rhetoric from the Government, it’s time for real action.”