Rory welcomes historic Spending Review and praises Chancellor’s commitment to Cumbrians

Rory Stewart MP has praised the Chancellor’s commitment to Cumbria in ​yesterday’s historic Spending Review and Autumn Statement, and in particular its commitments on Cumbria’s Police, its Natural Environment, and National Defence and Security. It is a budget in which the government has yet again delivered on its promises to the British people to protect economic and national security. Public spending plans set out in the Review mean that Britain will reach a surplus of £10.1bn in 2019/20 – higher than forecast in previous Budgets, and meaning that the country will be out of the red and into the black.

In an increasingly dangerous and unstable world, Rory also welcomed the continued commitment of 2% on national defence spending​ ​following his own lobbying of government of this when he was Chair of the Defence Select Committee in 2014-15.

Speaking outside the chamber after ​yesterday’s announcement​s​, Rory Stewart said: “This is a historic Spending Review because we are at last able to show Britain headed for a surplus, which means that we can focus on strengthening our vital services, investing in people and infrastructure, and protecting the most vulnerable​ ​through our welfare reforms​. ​Once again the Chancellor has shown his commitment to Cumbria and Cumbrians. In recognising our ageing demographic and the needs of an elderly, but more active, population, he has announced the biggest real terms rise in the basic State Pension as well as investment into social care funding. For our younger constituents, the biggest house-building programme of any government since the ‘70s will be introduced, ensuring that young people have access to housing and setting a target of 400,000 new affordable homes by the end of the decade. Cumbrian families will be supported by the largest-ever investment into free childcare, helping all the many stay-at-home mothers who will be supported back into work by supporting them – from 2017 – with free childcare for 30 hours per week for three and four-year-olds.​ ​As a Defra Minister I was particularly pleased to hear, too, that our landscapes will continue to be protected, with spending on our National Parks and forests maintained.“

Prior to the Spending Review Rory had emphasised to Ministerial colleagues the need for protecting FE spending on behalf of Cumbria’s colleges, on the need to reassess the schools Funding Formula, for the extension of the Small Business Rate Relief scheme for SMEs, and on the need to extend Enterprise Zones up to Carlisle and the northern part of Cumbria. On all counts, Cumbria has seen wins.​ ​Rory continued: “Protecting small Cumbrian businesses, recognising the potential for Carlisle as an Enterprise Zone, and making sure that our wonderful further education colleges are supported, all means a stronger, brighter, safer future for all generations of​ ​Cumbria​ns.”

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