I was in the Commons Chamber to hear the Chancellor deliver this year’s Budget.
The public finances remain very tight, despite economic growth in the UK now being faster than in virtually any other developed country; however, there were a range of announcements that will help our local businesses employ more people, export more, build more, invest more and manufacture more.
Manufacturing is absolutely vital to our local economy and it was nice to be the first MP name checked by the Chancellor during his budget speech, but even better to hear he and others in Westminster are finally recognising the importance of manufacturing. Our local economy still relies heavily on manufacturing, but under the last government 1.8 million manufacturing jobs were lost in the flawed belief the service sector and London could prop up the whole economy.
Back in the 2012 Autumn Statement, George Osborne credited the Member of Parliament for Burnley and myself with persuading him to increase tenfold the Annual Investment Allowance from £25,000 to £250,000. In the Budget he went further, doubling it again to £500,000, giving a huge incentive to Pendle businesses to invest and create more jobs. The Chancellor also took action on high energy costs, which will be a boost to numerous companies across Pendle who have raised this concern with me. Indeed, half of the firms that benefit the most from these measures are in the north of England.
In addition to another big rise in the tax free personal allowance, help for savers and pensioners, scrapping the rise in fuel duty, support for our local air ambulance and a penny off a pint, there was a lot to welcome.
Unemployment is falling, but there is a lot still to do and I will continue to bang the drum for Pendle residents and businesses in Westminster.