Neil Parish writes about the budget – make no reference to Axminster or Seaton

He says: “I will be working alongside our local authorities to ensure every town and community across Tiverton and Honiton gets their fair share of funding.”

Neil Parish www.devonlive.com

NEIL PARISH IS THE CONSERVATIVE MP FOR TIVERTON AND HONITON

On Tuesday, I spoke in the Budget debate. Support for jobs and livelihoods was front and centre of the Chancellor’s statement – and rightly so.

The expansion of the self-employed income support scheme was particularly welcome news – providing aid to an additional 600,000 people who were newly self-employed last year. From self-employed barbers, to driving instructors and tutors, this grant money is a lifeline. I had written to the Chancellor to ask for the inclusion of those excluded last year, and this money goes some way to doing just that.

Businesses too are set to receive additional relief funding. Restart Grants of up to £18,000 are being made available, alongside an extension of the business rates holiday and the reduced rate of VAT. Alcohol and fuel duty has also been frozen for a second year in a row. Cutting these taxes and providing cash boosts will help Devon’s many tourism and hospitality businesses, including hotels, pubs, and wedding venues, to recover.

The Chancellor is also right to extend the Universal Credit uplift for a further six months. While millions of jobs have been protected, record numbers of people have had to rely on social security to get by. Universal Credit has been critical for countering the financial hardships experienced during the pandemic and it is right we continue to bolster this support.

As we build back better from coronavirus, I also want to see further innovation in our economy to create a “Green Industrial Revolution”. I welcome the announcement of the new ‘super-deduction’, rewarding businesses for investing in greener, more efficient machinery. But I also want to see it apply to new fishing boats, reducing the cost of restoring our fleets, creating jobs in this country and making fishing greener and safer for our fishers in the South West.

The Green Homes Grant is another fantastic example of how the Government can spur a green recovery, delivering subsidies for energy-saving home improvements. However, doubt hangs over the scheme. As I pointed out this week, Treasury ministers would be wise to extend and expand this support as we search for an investment-led, carbon-slashing recovery.

And as people strive to return to normality this Spring, further investment is needed in our communities. “Levelling up Britain”, as the Prime Minister has said, is key to building a fairer economy. That’s why I am delighted £4.8 billion has just been committed for the “Levelling Up Fund”- delivering investment for improvements to transport, town centres and cultural and heritage sites. Such funding will be vital for strengthening Devon’s recovery efforts and building a resilient local economy for the future.

The Chancellor and his team have worked tirelessly, in tough circumstances, to ensure people have access to financial help, whilst encouraging investment and growth in our economy. In the coming months, I will be working alongside our local authorities to ensure every town and community across Tiverton and Honiton gets their fair share of funding.