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Osborne: Economic case for HS2 'pretty compelling'

Chancellor George Osborne said HS2 will be an "engine for growth" in the North and Midlands, and will create tens of thousands of jobs.

He acknowledged that communities along its route would face a "very difficult" disruption to their lives, but said the economic benefits were "pretty compelling". He told BBC Breakfast:

I think it is the engine for growth in the North and the Midlands of this country. I think it is going to create tens of thousands of jobs in Manchester and across our great cities.

In the end, as a country, you have got to make those long-term choices. If our predecessors hadn't decided to build the railways in the Victorian times or the motorways in the middle part of the 20th century, then we wouldn't have those things today.

– Chancellor George Osborne


Fracking protestors fear Government backing for the drilling

Protestors who oppose drilling for shale gas in the North West say they fear the Government has given a big hint that it supports the controversial process known as fracking.

Fracking involves pumping water into the ground to fracture shale rocks to extract gas, which can be used for power.

The process has been blamed for causing minor earthquakes on the Lancashire Coast.

Today, in his Autumn statement, the Chancellor George Osborne said he was prepared to consider giving tax breaks to companies involved in drilling.

How will the Autumn Statement affect the North West?

The Treasury has produced a map which shows how some of the measures in the Autumn Statement will affect each area of the country, here is the breakdown for the North West:

  • 27,000 people to be lifted out of income tax and 2.6 million to pay less income tax as a result of Personal allowance reforms.
  • Cancelling the planned rise in fuel duty in January wil reduce running costs for the 3.6 million motor vehicles in the North West, saving a typical motorist £40 a year.
  • £181m to build more than 9,400 new homes for affordable rent.
  • £49m to return over 3,000 empty homes to use.
  • £34m investment in partnership between University of Liverpool and Unilever.
  • £38m to develop the Manchester Cancer Research Centre
  • Salford to be in the second wave of super-connected cities.
  • Government will provide a grant for councils that freeze council tax in 2013-14.
  • Business support measures will benefit 431,000 small and medium enterprises in the North West.

See the map in full here.


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