‘Budget for Britain’ has nothing for Copeland

18th March 2015

Copeland MP, Jamie Reed has slammed the Chancellor’s budget as having ‘nothing for our region, nothing for our communities, nothing for our services and nothing for our economic growth’.

Earlier this week, Jamie Reed set out the four key areas where the Chancellor should take action to enable West Cumbria to reach its economic potential.  The Copeland MP called on the Chancellor to address skills and education; infrastructure; health care and local government reform.

The Chancellor spoke for almost one hour, but failed to mention any of these issues in relation to Cumbria.  The Chancellor also stopped short of extending new announcements to Cumbria – particularly in the case of local authorities retaining 100% of the business rates from their areas.

Despite growing pressure and threats to the future of services in West Cumbria, the Chancellor also failed to mention the NHS in his speech, which Jamie Reed has called a ‘shameful omission’.

Copeland MP and Labour’s Shadow Health Minister, Jamie Reed MP said:

“George Osborne could have used his budget to give West Cumbria the tools it needs to secure our economic future. Instead, he failed to address the most pressing concerns our region faces today, and did nothing to help us achieve the prosperity that we are working towards.

“The Chancellor spoke for an hour, but said very little.  His budget had nothing for our region, nothing for our communities, nothing for our services and nothing for our economic growth.

“Without proper investment in improving our infrastructure, we can’t secure the growth at the pace we could otherwise achieve.  The Chancellor speaks repeatedly about the ‘northern powerhouse’, but on today’s evidence, his concern is only for the south of the M62.  It is a glaring oversight when Britain’s Energy Coast can and will be a real economic driver for the whole country.

“There was no investment for skills and education for local people and our young people, putting at risk our place as world leaders in high-skilled engineering, manufacturing and R&D.  I will continue to pursue this matter with Ministers.  Government should address this omission sooner rather than later and should do so comprehensively and not in a piecemeal fashion.

“Osborne also neglected to mention the NHS, thrown into years of chaos by an unwanted and damaging top-down reorganisation.  With the pressures in A&E, primary care and all parts of the NHS, not mentioning it once is a shameful omission.

“Our best days are ahead of us.  The Chancellor missed his opportunity to help us achieve our full potential, but we will redouble our efforts and make our region one of the fastest growing regional economies anywhere in the country, in spite of the lack of support from the Government.  With or without them, we will succeed.”

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