MP welcomes Chancellor's Autumn Statement
MP James Heappey has welcomed Philip Hammonds Autumn Statement
after a series of announcements on infrastructure investment were
made in the House of Commons on Wednesday afternoon.
Heappey said: "The public finances are looking much less positive
than they were a year ago and so the statement was appropriately
sober and unflashy."
predictions have fallen and whilst the UK continues to grow more
quickly than all over G7 countries and record numbers of people
are in work, there is no escaping that the deficit cannot be cleared
as quickly as the Government had previously hoped."
welcome, however, that the new fiscal rules set by the Chancellor
will continue to force the country to live within its means with
deficit to be cleared early in the next decade. The additional borrowing
in the meantime will at least be much cheaper as interest rates
are currently so low."
particular, I welcome the focus on investing in our nations
infrastructure. In the South West especially, we have suffered from
decades of under investment and our transport and communications
networks are showing the strain. That poor connectivity discourages
investment and limits productivity. The billions of pounds committed
today to our road, rail, broadband and mobile phone networks is
really welcome, as is the cash that will make our existing networks
better protected from flooding."
the Autumn Statement was announced today Mr Heappey was calling
for to cut fuel duty in tomorrows Autumn Statement
and put more money in the pockets of people in Somerset. He is also
urging the Chancellor to set up a powerful PumpWatch watchdog to
stop motorists in getting ripped off at the forecourt by big oil
Heappey was among more than 50 MPs who have signed a letter to Mr
Hammond, urging him to help hard-pressed families and small businesses
by cutting fuel duty and introducing a regulator that will stop
petrol stations increasing the pump price rapidly when oil prices
rise but not being equally quick to cut prices when the oil price
Autumn Statement reflected the calls from MPs like Mr Heappey, with
Mr Hammond announcing there would be a freeze of fuel duty, along
with a rise of 30p to the National Living Wage and an increase to
the personal tax allowance.
are measures that will put money back in the pockets of Somerset
residents," said Mr Heappey after the announcement.
Somersets businesses will benefit too with a doubling of rural
rate relief, confirmation that previous commitments to reduced corporation
tax will remain and an eye-catching measure on rate relief for businesses
who install their own fibre optic broadband connection."
is not much money to go around but increasing spending on infrastructure
will boost productivity, encourage growth and, in turn, mean that
there is more opportunity to invest in our public services."
statement has not been welcomed by all. UNISON South West has denounced
the lack of measures aimed at social care and says the NHS will
pay the price.
UNISON South West regional secretary Joanne Kaye said: "Hopes
were raised the Chancellor would find extra cash for social care,
and ease the burden on the NHS and local councils struggling to
keep a lid on the growing crisis."
the government has chosen to ignore social care, preferring to look
the other way as a growing number of elderly people are getting
no care at all. The Chancellors published document didnt
even mention the NHS nor social care once a shocking set
of priorities given the importance of health and care services to
so many people in the South West."