The Chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng MP has just delivered his first budget update to parliament.
During the fiscal statement, he marked a shift in Government policy with some major economic changes.
The statement included previously announced interventions such as support for households as well as businesses and schools with energy prices.
The Chancellor says the approach ‘The Growth Plan 2022’ is aimed at reducing inflation and stimulating economic growth, with wide-ranging plans such as cutting taxes including a reversal of the National Insurance rise; scrapping cap on banker bonuses; and the creation of ‘Investment Zones’ with new tax and rates relief arrangements within them.
Initial potential areas for the zones have been identified, including sites in Barrow-in-Furness and the wider Workington and Energy Coast in Cumbria, with the Government beginning engagement with councils to seek local buy-in.
Following the statement, Jo Lappin, Chief Executive of the Cumbria Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “Cumbria’s business community has had to weather a succession of damaging storms, from the impacts of COVID-19 to the inflation, energy and cost of living crises.
“It’s encouraging to see the Government actively looking at ways to support both individual businesses and stimulate wider long term economic growth – whether through tax cuts, widening of the criteria for seed investment or plans to streamline the process for larger infrastructure projects such as road and rail.
“Clearly, we welcome the opportunity presented by Investment Zones and the intention to create two new high-growth areas in Cumbria to unlock more inward investment.
“We just need to manage this carefully to make sure that areas outside of the new Zones continue to grow and prosper. We also need to make sure that the new policies help to create a level playing field for all areas and that major opportunities are equally available to Cumbria as well as the major cities.
“We have significant economic strengths and opportunities and can play our part in returning the economy to growth.
“At the LEP, we’re committed to playing an active role in stimulating investment and encouraging innovation and are set to launch a targeted grant programme for our SMEs in the coming weeks.
“We’ll continue to work with the Government and all of our partners locally to make sure that we seize every opportunity to secure transformative investment in our region.”
He also unveiled plans to bring forward a new bill to streamline the process for nationally significant infrastructure projects including transport, energy and digital projects.