My Budget verdict
The office for National Statistics published a document earlier this month entitled ‘Regional Economic Indicators’. This covered areas such as economic output, innovation, enterprise and related issues. Whilst these statistics clearly highlighted our regions problems it also shows that our economy is not the “basket case” some would have us believe. I would specifically highlight that in 2011/12 we had the highest percentage of pupils achieving 5+ A* - C grades at GCSE level. A great result for our much criticised youth!
Problems do remain. We continue to have an over reliance on public sector jobs, unemployment rates remain stubbornly high, particularly youth unemployment, and average disposable incomes have suffered over recent years.
We are therefore looking for measures to boost employment and the incomes of our poorest residents. The main measures that should help the North East were:
- The further reduction to the main rate of corporation tax to 20% in 2015 may encourage inward investment to the region, creating much needed jobs.
- The extension of personal allowances in 2014/15 to £10,000 will increase the net pay for the majority of workers.
- The reduction of the duty on beer and the cancellation of the proposed fuel duty increase, whilst relatively small measures should help to arrest price increases.
- The most eye catching measures, however, were those relating to mortgage finance. The schemes will provide deposits for those buying new homes and guarantee amounts for others seeking to move home but who are struggling the raise the required deposits. On the face of it this should help the building sector which has always been important to the North East.
The main disappointment is that there are no specific measures aimed at encouraging growth away from London and the South East to the regions.
This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Andrew Moorby .