Penrith and The Border MP Rory Stewart has welcomed the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Budget Statement delivered today, commending in particular measures that will benefit Penrith and The Border and Cumbria such as the compensating of energy-intensive industries with compensation for green levies, and doubling the annual investment allowance to £500,000 until the end of 2015.

Rory Stewart said: “This is an immensely positive budget for Cumbria. In Penrith and The Border, where SMEs employ 92 per cent of private sector employees, the Chancellor’s announcement on investment relief is an especially welcome one, allowing smaller enterprises such as Bells of Lazonby to invest in the human resources that will allow them to increase production and bring in more workers, creating employment and generating wealth in our communities. I also welcome the news that energy-intensive companies – and an excellent example is the manufacturer Innovia in Wigton – will be compensated for green levies, significantly reducing the burden of escalating energy bills which has the potential to seriously hamper efficiency.”

David Beeby of Innovia said: “It is very encouraging to see that the government is listening to the concerns of energy-intensive companies. As a country we cannot afford to damage the competitiveness of our industry through very uncompetitive energy prices.”

Michael Bell of Bells of Lazonby said: “This is great news.”

Especially positive for Penrith and The Border, and following an almost four-year campaign by Rory Stewart to waive VAT on fuel for rural emergency services, is the announcement that air ambulances will receive VAT exemption on fuel costs, and that inland search and rescue charities such as Mountain Rescue, and inshore boat rescue services, will benefit from the redistribution of accumulated LIBOR fines.

Rory welcomed the Chancellor’s pledge to provide more support for hard-working families, freezing fuel duty yet again and extending Help to Buy to 2020. For earners living in a constituency that has a low average wage, many will also benefit from the increase in the personal tax-free allowance to £10,500. There is good news also for savers with an increased ISA saving limit, and a new pensioner bond to be introduced in January, which will offer an income of 4% on a three-year bond. For Penrith and The Border’s pub-goers, there will be a penny off the pint, with beer duty cut next week by 1p.

Rory said:  “Whilst the Budget paints a national picture, I continue to believe that local schemes adapted to local needs are the vehicles through which we can truly make a difference and improve the lives of constituents on the ground. We are seeing that in Eden with the launch of the Eden Mortgage Boost Scheme, which will assist people wishing to purchase a property up to the value of £150,000, and who require help in getting onto the property ladder; and with the Small Business Boost Scheme that I have recently launched, which aims to address the cash-flow needs of smaller and start-up enterprises by matching local borrowers to local lenders through a crowd-funding platform.”

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