Rory welcomes “radical, resourceful” 2012 Spring Budget for its positive impact on long-running campaigns in Cumbria


The Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, has delivered a “radical and resourceful” Spring Budget intended to help Britain “earn its way in the world”. The principles of the budget reflect Rory’s  campaign to rebuild confidence, as an engine for growth. Rory has long argued that broadband investment, and investment in gas generation capacity, will be central to Britain’s future growth. He has also called consistently for a focus on small and medium sized businesses. (Penrith and the Border has more than almost any constituency in Britain).


In an article last week, Rory brought this together with a plea for renewed confidence in Britain’s energy and exports. He said: “This is the Budget we have been campaigning for – and it hits many of our many objectives ‘on the button’.”


The Chancellor stated that his aim was to protect the UK from global instability and to build a stronger, more balanced economy for the future. Reporting positive Office of Budget Responsibility Forecasts, which review upwards their growth forecasts for the British economy to 0.8% this year and 2% next year, the Chancellor pledged to lift the poorest citizens out of tax whilst “unashamedly backing business”.


The Spring Budget also highlights Rory’s long-running campaigns in favour of the converting of gas as an alternative energy source, rather than ineffective and expensive wind turbines. This is recognised by the Chancellor’s announcement of a major package of tax changes to boost oil and gas extraction in the North Sea.


The budget also supports the push for superfast and mobile broadband, with the Chancellor stressing the importance of improved technological infrastructure. He has pledged to deliver ultra-fast broadband to ten UK cities, and launch a £50m fund for smaller cities.


In recognition of the large numbers of small businesses that operate in rural areas, and the major contribution they make to local economies, the Chancellor has announced radical changes to the administration of tax for SMEs, which shall be based on cash passing through the business, for businesses with turnovers of up to £77,000pa, a simplifying of payroll systems, and more assistance for business start-ups.


Rory also welcomed the Chancellor’s measures to double British exports to one trillion pounds this decade, expand UK Export Finance and help smaller firms into new markets, in a move that will bolster the MP’s campaign to increase Cumbria’s livestock exports and open up markets for Cumbrian farm produce.


Rory said: “This is a good budget for Cumbria. For rural areas, where wages are historically lower and business start-ups are common, it contains really good news for both lower income earners – representing the biggest tax break for over 30 years –  and entrepreneurs in need of a foot up into business. It recognises the fact that we all of us have a role to play in our national economic recovery. Times will be tough, but growth forecasts are improving and we have got to grow our confidence nationally: this is the time to increase the tax burden on the wealthiest, whilst encouraging grass-roots growth and easing the burden of cuts on our lower and middle-income earners. I am delighted by the focus on broadband, and gas, and by the news that, by withdrawing from Afghanistan, we will gain a peace dividend of over 2 billion pounds.”


Philip Rheinbach of local firm Top Notch Contractors said: “At a time of great uncertainty, the Chancellor’s announcements convey a surefooted message to private sector business, to which the private sector will respond very positively. George Osborne was asked to make today’s Budget a Budget for business and for growth. It is clear that the measures announced this afternoon are the product of a focused and well thought through strategy for the encouragement of economic growth and for business investment. Beyond the positive message to business, there were some excellent measures and revisions too. The announcements for the increase in personal allowances and in addressing some of the long-standing injustices around the avoidance of paying taxes by curbing tax avoidance schemes in particular stand out.”


Key measures of this year’s Budget that will benefit individual constituents of Penrith and the Border include the raising of the income tax threshold to £9,205, giving young people the skills to compete and enter the workforce, with a record number of apprenticeships on offer, and introducing tax statements that will detail what people have been paid and where it is going. Importantly, no changes to fuel duty plans have been suggested, meaning that the Government will continue to work hard in the face of global spikes in world oil prices to prevent dramatic fluctuations at the petrol pump, an issue that is of particular concern to the MP and his constituents.



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