West Cumbrian MP, Jamie Reed has warned that the Chancellor’s 2016 Budget has ignored the pressing need for investment in infrastructure and key services in Cumbria.
The Budget contained no investment for the A595 and no support for the local NHS. This comes as Copeland MP, Jamie Reed, wrote to the Chancellor prior to the Budget, setting out the case for further investment in West Cumbria.
In his letter to the Chancellor, Jamie Reed made the case for:
- Investment in the A595,
- A freeze on fuel duty to stand up for those living in rural areas who depend on their cars,
- Support to boost local NHS recruitment, and
- Funding to proceed with Phase Two of the redevelopment of West Cumberland Hospital
On the issue of fuel duty, the Copeland MP wrote:
“On the issue of transportation, the rurality of Cumbria means that many have little option but to use their own car or other forms of personal transportation. The burdens on drivers mean that this already comes at a significant personal costs. Reports over recent days suggest that you intend to increase fuel duty in order to plug the gap in your spending plans caused by your failures to meet your own targets.
My constituents would rightly resent you penalising drivers in rural areas, who rely on their cars, in order for you to achieve the spending targets that you continue to miss. I would urge you to reconsider any attempts to raise fuel duty”
Following the letter from Jamie Reed MP, the Chancellor announced a freeze to fuel duty.
On other measures, following the Government’s decision to cut £30 from the weekly income of ill and disabled people, the Government announced a further £1 Billion cut in support for disabled people.
Copeland MP, Jamie Reed said:
“The Budget offers little for Cumbrian families, workers and businesses. Our key infrastructure and our key services have once again been ignored by the Government meaning West Cumbria has been left out and let down.
“The Chancellor has missed every borrowing target he has set himself and again, his forecasts for growth have been downgraded. It is the most vulnerable people in society that are shouldering the burden of the Chancellor’s failures with a further billion pounds worth of cuts in the support available for disabled people.
“A fuel duty freeze is welcome, but the Chancellor was incredibly irresponsible for using the days running up to the budget to suggest that it could have risen. Creating unease and uncertainty when there was no need to do so.
“As ever, the devil is in the detail and the full scale of the Chancellor’s failures will only become apparent over the coming days, but it is clear that by neglecting key infrastructure investment such as for the A595 and by offering no support for our key services whilst cutting local government to the bone, the Chancellor has let West Cumbria down.”