Budget "paves way for investment in Cumbria market towns"

Date: Tuesday 30th October 2018

THE cut in business rates and future high streets fund announced in the Budget yesterday will have a significant effect in Cumbria, says Penrith and the Border MP Rory Stewart.

He said Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond's pledges on broadband, schools, health and the high street made it “a great Budget for Cumbria”.

“This Budget contains measures that will be welcomed across Cumbria and I would like to pay the Chancellor of the Exchequer a huge tribute for this," he said.

"His announcement of a 33 per cent cut in business rates for 90 per cent of small businesses, alongside the establishment of a £675 million Future High Streets Fund, will have a significant effect in Cumbria — allowing investment in the regeneration of market towns such as Penrith, Wigton, Appleby, Kirkby Stephen, Longtown and Brampton.

"By contrast, the Labour Party wants to increase corporation tax by 25 per cent for small businesses and 50 per cent for large businesses, which would seriously damage our high streets and, ultimately, our communities.

“This Budget has provisions that will be welcome to all Cumbrians. Fuel duty has been frozen — for the ninth consecutive year — as has the duty on beer, cider and spirits.

"While the cost of driving is kept low, our roads will receive the biggest ever single cash investment with a 40 per cent increase to Highways England’s budget, making £420 million available to repair potholes, bridges and motorways.

"Broadband funding will also receive a real boost. The Chancellor has earmarked £200 million for the piloting of innovative approaches to the deployment of full fibre internet in rural locations, which includes the Borderlands.

"And I was delighted that he also confirmed the continuation of discussions on the Borderlands Growth Deal. In view of the disastrous floods that have struck Cumbria over the past few years, I was also very pleased to see that an additional £13 million will be invested in the flood warning system.

“In short — massive investment in our NHS, manifesto tax commitments delivered a year ahead of schedule, increased funding for social care, a historic pledge on mental health provision and £400m to schools as an ‘in-year bonus’ will all make a real difference to our towns and our communities.

"I have always fought hard for Penrith and the Border and I am delighted with this Budget, which I believe balances prudence with investment to deliver for Britain and for the communities and people of Cumbria.”