Conservative Prospective Parliamentary candidate for Ipswich, Tom Hunt, has today welcomed yesterday’s budget statement by Chancellor of the Exchequer, Phillip Hammond. However he has also stated that it must be made to work for Ipswich.
Commenting upon the announcements in the budget, Tom Hunt said:
“There was a lot in this budget statement to welcome. Since 2010 there are now over 3 million more people in work and despite the challenging Brexit negotiations there is much to be optimistic about. The economic forecasts are positive and I’m confident that many of the measures contained in the budget statement will give the economy a further boost. Overall though the three things that I was particularly pleased to see in the budget was the support for our town centers and high streets, a new fund for investment into major road infrastructure improvements and changes to the funding of apprenticeship training.
“Supporting Ipswich town center is a key priority for me so I’m delighted about the package of support that the Chancellor announced for our high streets. All retailers in properties with a rateable value of less than £51,000 will have a third wiped off the amount of tax they pay through business rates. In addition to this £675 million will be made available for local authorities through the new Future High Streets Fund. This fund will be aimed at rejuvenating our high streets and town centers. Clearly Ipswich Borough Council need to do what they can to get hold of some of this money for Ipswich. It’s very important that we bid into it.
“I also welcome the £30 billion that the Government is making available for road upgrades as part of the National Infrastructure Productivity Fund. The economy of Ipswich and East Anglia won’t achieve its full potential unless its inadequate transport infrastructure is overhauled. I will be making representations to Government officials to lobby for some of this money to spent in Ipswich. There is no reason why this fund can’t play a role in helping to bring forward plans for a northern relief road. I will seek to have further discussions with Suffolk County Council leader Cllr Matthew Hicks about how Ipswich might be able to benefit from this fund.
“I’m very passionate about the need for there to be more apprenticeships. A number of concerns have been raised with me by employers about the way the apprenticeship levy works and its cost for small business. In the budget the Government halved the amount of money small businesses will have to pay to fund apprenticeship training. This will do a lot to promote apprenticeships here in Ipswich and encourage small businesses to support them.
“It’s no wonder that the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has given this years budget statement such a ringing endorsement.”