Penrith and The Border MP Rory has responded to the Chancellor of the Exchequer’s Budget Statement delivered this afternoon. He welcomed the strong message of continuity, and the government’s commitment to remaining on the path to security and prosperity – while applauding in particular the Chancellor’s announcements on investment in skills and young people; in social care; and in infrastructure.

The Chancellor unveiled a number of key measures to sustain growth, building on his predecessor’s budgets and in the context of raised growth forecasts from the OBR.

Speaking on the budget, Rory Stewart said:

“This is a quietly confident budget, but it is important and right that the Chancellor has tempered optimism with realism. I especially welcome, first and foremost, the significant investment in social care, which will enable councils to act now to commission social care packages for 2017-18 – particularly important in the Cumbrian context. I am also pleased to hear that young Cumbrians aged 16-19 will benefit from more investment into apprenticeships and skills, particularly the increase in training hours for young people, ensuring they are ‘work-ready’. Schools will benefit from more than £200 million investment – particularly important as I communicate with schools across the constituency about how we react to decisions around the School Funding Formula. And it is good news that local councils will benefit from a discretionary fund to support businesses who find business rates difficult, and I am pleased that Cumbrian pubs will receive a discount on their rates.

“As ever the government continues its pledge to invest in our rail, roads, and telecomms infrastructure, all of which are key to our economy and, in turn, to the prosperity of Cumbria’s communities. A further £90 million is pledged to roads in the north, another £200 million for fibre broadband, and £16 million for 5G technology.”

“Post-Brexit, the government’s policy of continuing fiscal responsibility is the right one, and while the OBR’s forecasts are healthy and UK debt is forecast to begin falling for the first time in 20 years within the next 5 years, we must be wise and careful in our spending plans ahead of a time of uncertainty once Article 50 is triggered. I feel that this is a budget to have confidence in, and I welcome it.”

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