Yesterday (13th March) in Parliament the Chancellor delivered the Spring Statement. The Spring Statement is important to many of my constituents and local businesses, so I wanted to write this short piece to inform you about the significant announcements in the statement.
You can read a full summary of the Spring Statement yourself at the below web address.
The Spring Statement sets out the Government’s spending priorities and reaffirms the Government’s commitment to build upon the economic successes already achieved to build a dynamic and robust economy as we leave the European Union.
I am pleased to see that the UK economy continues to grow, with wages increasing and unemployment at historic lows, indeed last year, 95% of new jobs were full time. The robustness of the UK economy provides a solid foundation on which to build Britain’s economic future.
Since 2010 there are over 3.5 million more people in work, and it’s forecast that employment will increase by a further 600,000 by 2023. As well, wages are increasing at their fastest pace in over a decade, and are forecast to continue growing faster than inflation, which means more money in people’s pockets.
This is welcome news for us here in Norwich. I have long campaigned for more good jobs for Norwich and I am pleased that more people Norwich will have more money in their pockets to spend on the things that matter most to them.
Thanks to the difficult decisions made by the Government since 2010 our public finances have reached a turning point and have finally shaken off Labour’s irresponsible toxic debt legacy. Borrowing has already been reduced by four-fifths since 2009-10 and debt has begun its first sustained fall in a generation.
The Government will continue to focus on keeping our debt falling so we do not burden the next generation. The Chancellor has assured MPs that the balanced approach to the economy will continue by reducing borrowing and debt, while supporting public services, investing in the economy and infrastructure, and keeping taxes low.
One of my key commitments as a constituency MP is to ensure that Norwich families have the homes they need, and I support the Government’s determination to fix the broken housing market. Last year, housing delivery exceeded 220,000 additional homes, the highest level in all but one of the last 31 years.
In the Spring Statement the Government announced a new £3 billion Affordable Homes Guarantee scheme, to support delivery of around 30,000 affordable homes and £717 million from the Housing Infrastructure Fund.
The Chancellor reaffirmed commitments made at the Autumn Budget 2017 to provide at least £44 billion of financial support over a five-year period, to raise housing supply by the end of this Parliament to its highest level since 1970 and put us on track to reach 300,000 a year on average.
To move closer towards that target, the Government announced further progress on planning reform. In the coming months the Government will;
At the previous Autumn Budget, the Chancellor announced an additional £500 million into the Housing Infrastructure Fund, which is currently helping to get the Mile Cross depot site underway for hundreds of local homes here in Norwich.
There was more positive news in the Spring Statement on the environment. I am pleased with great work that has already been achieved in this area as part of the Government’s 25-year plan for the environment, which aims for us to be the first generation to leave the environment in a better state than when we found it.
Carbon emissions have fallen by 42 per cent since 1990. Britain’s share of electricity generated from renewables has doubled since 2009 and Ministers are determined to ensure we become a world leader in the new green economy.
The Chancellor outlined how the Government will apply the creativity of the market economy to deliver solutions to one of the most complex problems of our time. The Government have committed to:
The Government will also use the forthcoming Environment Bill to mandate biodiversity net gain for development in England ensuring that the delivery of much-needed infrastructure and housing is not at the expense of vital biodiversity.
Other measures announced In the Spring Statement include the announcement of more funds to tackle the scourge of knife crime. Many constituents have got in touch with me concerned about the rise in knife crime and I am very concerned that we have seen the effects on the streets in Norwich.
I welcome the announcement that Police funding is due to rise by up to £970 million from April. Many Police & Crime Commissioners have already committed to using this extra funding to recruit and train additional police officers.
In addition to this, the Chancellor announced an additional £100 million over the course of the next year, ring-fenced to pay for additional overtime targeted specifically on knife crime and for new Violent Crime Reduction Units to deliver a wider cross-agency response to this epidemic.
Also announced as part of this Spring Statement is a further £60million of investment into the Government’s Transforming Cities Fund. This extra funding will fund new schemes such as bus station upgrades, new cycle lanes and road improvements, supporting the wider programmes being delivered by city regions as part of the Industrial Strategy.
Of this £60million, Norwich will receive £6.1million in funding.
I’ve campaigned hard for this bid to succeed because it will really help people get around Norwich, especially to jobs. Getting more good jobs to Norwich is a top priority for me and this £6.1million will help make a real difference to people’s lives.
As always, I will keep constituents further updated on these important announcements as things develop. This has been a very welcome Spring Statement that will lock in the economic progress made by this Government.
I will continue my work locally, regionally, in Parliament and with Government, campaigning on the issues that matter most to us here in Norwich North.