• Austerity not yet over says Plymouth MP as city mentioned but denied proper funding requested.
• Extra money for transport schemes in London but south west told to wait another year for resilience work at Dawlish.
• Extra Defence spending welcomed but doubts remain over defence review outcomes.
Following today’s budget, Luke Pollard, MP for Plymouth Sutton and Devonport has criticised the amount of funding allocated to the south west.
Tory MPs for the south west had been briefing media that there was to be a big announcement of funding for resilience work at Dawlish. But while there was extra money for transport in London there was no new money for the far south west’s trainline.
Extra money for defence and fishing was welcomed. Plymouth was mentioned as it was shortlisted for share of the £440m increase to the competitive allocation of the Transforming Cities Fund. In addition a freeze of Cider Duty and £10m for fisheries innovation to help South West fishers were the only other offers specific to the region.
Commenting on the Chancellor’s Autumn Budget, Luke Pollard MP said:
“Austerity is not over and the cuts will continue. The Prime Minister told us that austerity was over but today the Chancellor confirmed it is continuing.What the far south west needed from this budget was proper funding for our public services and transport. While London and the north of England got extra money for transport we will have to wait another year to find out whether we will get funding for the urgent resilience work we need at Dawlish and Teignmouth to keep our trainline open.It is time our region’s Conservative MPs woke up to what their own government is doing.Cuts to Plymouth City Council will continue the Chancellor confirmed. The extra money for Universal Credit is welcome but only replaces half the money George Osborne cut when he was Chancellor. There are genuine problems with Universal Credit and it needs pausing and fixing.Any extra money for defence is welcome but I’m concerned it won’t be enough to stop cuts to our armed forces.This budget didn’t give Plymouth the funding we needed but it will help this weak government limp on for a few more weeks. It’s time we got our fair share of funding for the far south west. This budget doesn’t give us what we need.The vague promise of £10m for fisheries innovation for South West fishers could be hampered by a bad Brexit deal. School funding will ease pressure but does nothing to address regional imbalances. We still have the lowest per head education spend in the country, with our children worth £415 less per child than in London. More funding on Universal Credit misses the point. The cruel failure to halt the rollout shows how deaf the Chancellor is to the concerns of vulnerable people across the country.The message from the Chancellor is clear. Austerity isn’t over – get used to it. We will still have less police officers and less fire fighters than we did in 2010. There’s no rescue plan for cash strapped local councils, only more privatisation and more fragmentation. I hope that the region’s Conservative MPs speak out on this. This is a political choice to hold back our region.”
Ahead of today’s budget, Plymouth Sutton and Devonport MP Luke Pollard wrote to the Chancellor calling for seven key asks across the environment, culture, transport, education and defence. These additional asks were in addition to his ongoing campaigns for more defence and health spending.
These asks were a result of the feedback Luke has received from people in Plymouth Sutton and Devonport about their priorities for tax and spending and for investment in Plymouth’s key services. Luke Pollard MP’s seven key asks were:
1. SUPPORT THE MAYFLOWER 400 COMMEMORATION EVENTS
2. INVEST IN OUR ONE AND ONLY TRAINLINE
3. ACT ON SCHOOL FUNDING
4. FUND THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE UK’S FIRST NATIONAL MARINE PARK
5. SUBMARINE RECYCLING
6. FREEZE BEER AND GIN DUTY AND HELP PUBS WITH LOWER BUSINESS RATES
7. HALT THE DAMAGE OF UNIVERSAL CREDIT