Budget offers 'sticking plaster solutions' says South Shields MP

Emma Lewell-Buck
Emma Lewell-Buck

South Shield's MP Emma Lewell-Buck has slammed Philip Hammond after he delivered his last Budget before Brexit.

The Chancellor made his speech in the Commons yesterday.

Jonathan Walker

Jonathan Walker

Emma Lewell-Buck said: "Far from austerity being over, today we witnessed a Chancellor in crisis management mode offering short term sticking plaster solutions to repair long term damage with no new money for our schools, police or local government.

"The slowest recovery on record, falling investment, comparatively low productivity and deepening regional inequalities needed a bold response, one the county is crying out for and one only a Labour Government can offer.

"The sad reality is for millions of people in the UK this budget will make no positive difference at all to their daily lives."

The speech got a qualified thumbs-up from the region's biggest business organisation.

Jonathan Walker, assistant director with the North East England Chamber of Commerce said: "We are pleased the Chancellor has listened to our calls to improve local business conditions in our region and welcome the business rate relief for town centre retailers as well as the future High Street fund.

"The decision to half the apprenticeship cost of training for SMEs is also good news and is an endorsement of what was contained in our submission to the Treasury.

"Our businesses need to have a good infrastructure to succeed and grow so the announcement of £37m to develop plans for Northern Powerhouse Rail is welcome. Government now needs to commit to backing the full proposals as they come forwards.

"We have worked hard over the past year to support workers’ mental health and welcome the investment in services to provide help for this important area of employees’ well-being.

"Developing the South Tees site is a complex, long term project and so new funding is a useful start to attract new businesses to the area.

"Sadly, the major omission was support for exporters in the context of Brexit. We called for additional support for companies to break into new markets and strengthen our export performance.

"The Chancellor also missed the opportunity to improve regional competitiveness by not reforming Air Passenger Duty."