Cumbria Chamber of Commerce have reacted to today's Budget announcement.
– Rob Johnston, Chief Executive
"While the economy is clearly recovering, there is an ongoing concern that this is not a robust recovery, but one based on consumer spending rather than on a strong base of business investment and exports.
Alongside this, interest rates are low and inflation has been continually outstripping wages and low interest rates, limiting sustainable consumer spending.
"So as a Chamber we were pushing ahead of today's budget for support for business investment, export growth and investment in skills.
In particular we were looking for help for businesses to take on, train and invest in young people."
Some comments on specific measures include:
- Doubling the number of apprenticeships is particularly important for Cumbrian businesses
- The announcements on corporation tax were good news but only a reiteration of what was already announced in last year's budget
- The support for exports is is good news
- The £7bn package to cut energy costs, for manufacturers in particular, is good news.
- The cut in beer duty and freezing of duty on spirits is good news for businesses in Cumbria's vibrant tourism and leisure industry
- Cancellation of the increase planned for September is clearly good news, but this is just cancellation of a planned rise - not a reduction
- Measures to support further construction and extending help to buy are good news
- Increases in personal allowances are good news
Our Scotland Political Editor Peter MacMahon gives the reaction to George Osborne's Westminster budget from the Scottish Parliament at Holyrood:
There was a particular mention for this region, with the Chancellor announcing that the Goverment will continue to fund the Lockerbie Scholarship.
It was set up after the air disaster of 1988 and gives two Lockerbie students the chance to study at Syracuse University in the United States each year.
There was the announcement of VAT relief on the fuel used by air ambulances and inshore rescue teams, which will affect us here.
Tim Backshall watched the budget speech with a panel of Lookaround viewers.
The Great North Air Ambulance Service, which operates Pride of Cumbria, has welcomed the Government’s decision to relieve air ambulances from the burden of fuel duty. As part of the budget announcement, Chancellor George Osborne announced that air ambulance fuel would no longer be subject to VAT.
The announcement follows a long campaign by supporters of air ambulances in the UK.
Mandy Drake, head of fundraising at GNAAS, said: “We estimate that this move could save the charity around £25,000 a year, enough to pay for ten missions.
"This is clearly a significant contribution and we are grateful to all those people who have worked hard to make this happen, especially the many thousands who signed the online petition which triggered the debate in the first place."
Great week for Lockerbie. Finally getting 3G pitch and today £100k for the Lockerbie-Syracuse Trust from UK Govt. #Budget2014
George Osborne announces he'll support Lockerbie scholarships for people from town to study in United States. #budget2014
George Osborne announces the government will support the Lockerbie-Syracuse Trust which offers scholarship opportunities to students both side of the Atlantic.
Chancellor announces VAT relief for air ambulance fuel. Thanks for all the support everyone - we did it! #budget2014
As part of his budget for 2014 George Osborne has announced that air ambulances will have VAT relief.
The Great North air Ambulance have been campaigning for this.
Chancellor George Osborne will make a pitch to "ordinary working people" later today when he delivers his penultimate Budget before the general election. He is expected to unveil the following:
- A further rise in the personal allowance above the £10,000 level promised
- Confirmation of the childcare tax scheme
There has also been speculation that Mr Osborne could be preparing to produce a rabbit from his red box, with some hints that there may be changes to National Insurance contribution levels or some movement on the 40% tax rate threshold rate.