Spending plans can lead to a 'brighter future' for West Midlands, say Tory MPs

Tory MPs say the spending plans outlined in the Budget can create a "brighter future" for people across the region.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak delivered his Budget earlier today
Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak delivered his Budget earlier today

But Labour says it will create a "higher tax and higher inflation economy", leaving families in the Black Country and Staffordshire facing a "real cost of living squeeze".

The Budget saw nearly £200 million pledged for 'levelling up' projects across the wider Midlands region, alongside cash for housing, skills and transport.

Wolverhampton South West MP Stuart Anderson, said the city had been "left behind for too many decades" and that he was "determined to see this changed so that we can create a better, brighter future for everyone in our community".

"This Budget delivers on many of my key asks, with critical investment to secure our recovery from Covid-19 and unlock Britain’s potential," he said.

"This funding will reach into some of the most deprived areas of our city and level up opportunities right across the board.

"It builds on the record sums of funding that our city has secured since 2019 - now standing at more than £975 million."

Stourbridge MP Suzanne Webb said a 50 per cent cut in business rates – announced as part of a package of measures aimed at helping businesses – would "boost jobs and investment" in the region.

"This package of measures really is a big shot in the arm for these important sectors and I am really pleased the Chancellor has listened to businesses who have been telling me the system needs reform," she said.

"I am pleased with this budget. It supports my job, jobs, jobs priority for Stourbridge."

West Bromwich East MP Nicola Richards, said: "This last year and a half has been incredibly challenging and coronavirus has left the public finances in a mess.

"The worst recession in the last three-hundred years was always going to be a tough position to bounce back from, but the Chancellor has delivered a fantastic Budget that drives forward the levelling-up agenda that is so desperately needed in the West Midlands.

"I’m most pleased with the investment in transport infrastructure that came out of the Budget - £1.05bn will go a long way to implementing the vision Andy Street has for our area.

"There’s absolutely no reason why the West Midlands shouldn’t have a transport network to rival London’s. That’s what levelling-up means in practice."

Cannock Chase MP Amanda Milling welcomed £20 million in funding for a cultural hub in Cannock town centre.

"This funding will help Cannock to reach its full potential by boosting our local economy, creating jobs, increasing skills, regenerating the area and helping us to recover from the pandemic," she said.

“Levelling up is a key part of this Government’s agenda for the country and I’m pleased that Cannock Chase is a key part of these plans."

Marco Longhi, Conservative MP for Dudley North, said he was pleased that the Budget had confirmed that the health capital budget "will be the largest since 2010".

He said that meant more hospitals and more operating theatres and a "bigger, better-trained, more highly paid workforce".

Wolverhampton South East MP Pat McFadden, shadow city minister, said having announced a national insurance rise last month, the Chancellor had confirmed that Britain had become a "higher tax and higher inflation economy with families facing a real cost of living squeeze".

He said: "Prices are going up. Energy bills are going up. And taxes are going up.

"Some of the individual items like the rise in the National Minimum Wage rise are welcome but where was the help for people facing higher energy bills this winter?

"He could have announced a cut in VAT on energy bills which we had called for and that would have given immediate help to millions of families.

"Instead he announced a tax cut for banks. In the longer term the big challenge for the country is to lift the growth rate.

"It has been lower in the past decade than many other countries and that is what has left us in this higher tax and high borrowing position."

Meanwhile the region's pub trade has welcomed measures to support the hospitality industry, including reforms to alcohol duty.

Paul Davies, CEO of Marston’s, said: "It is an intervention which will provide much needed long-term economic support to those sectors hit hardest during the pandemic.

"A one year 50 per cent business rates reduction for the hospitality sector will also be widely welcomed, and comes at a pertinent time, with potential Covid-19 restrictions looming.

"It’s clear ‘the local’ still has a place in the British public’s hearts and there is a ground-swell of public support for pubs and breweries, with more than 130,000 signatories, via the Long Live the Local campaign, having called for the Government to support our sector. It appears the Chancellor was listening.

"Furthermore, the beer duty freeze will be a relief for our sector until the changes to alcohol taxations come into effect in February 2023.

"The Chancellor has introduced a series of measures today which not only recognise the contribution the sector makes to the economy, but also the significant role pubs play in communities up and down the country."

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