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Osborne visits Carlisle on campaign trail

George Osborne is in Carlisle campaigning today Credit: ITV Border

Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne is campaigning in Carlisle today, ahead of the general election in just over three weeks.

The city is considered a key marginal seat as the Conservative Party took it at the 2010 election with a majority of just 853 votes.

Before that, it had been represented by Labour for more than 40 years.

At this general election the seat is being contested by:

  • Alfred Okam (Independent)
  • Fiona Mills (UKIP)
  • Helen Davison (Green Party)
  • John Stevenson (Conservative)
  • Lee Sherriff (Labour)
  • Loraine Birchall (Liberal Democrats)

You can read our full Carlisle constituency profile here.


Cumbria Chamber of Commerce reaction to Budget

Cumbria Chamber of Commerce have reacted to today's Budget announcement.

"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."

– Rob Johnston, Chief Executive

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


ITV Border panel discusses the Budget

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.

GNAA: 'Budget announcement will save us £25,000 a year'

Air ambulances have VAT on fuel scrapped Credit: GNAA

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."

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