Budget: Norfolk and Suffolk

After the Chancellor announced today's Budget, Heart's been looking at how it will affect us here in Suffolk and Norfolk.

The Budget: Key Points

FUEL DUTY: From 6pm tonight, fuel duty will be cut by 1p a litre, the planned rise in fuel duty next month will be postponed until next year, and the rise in April 2012 will be delayed until next summer. The 'fair fuel stabilizer,' which puts an extra penny on inflation, will also be scrapped.

PERSONAL INCOME TAX: The amount you earn before you are taxed has gone up to £8,100. In the East of England taxpayers will gain by £48 a year in 2012-13 and 25,000 will be taken out of tax altogether.

HOUSING: 250 million pound commitment to first time buyers. The government says it will help 10 thousand families get on housing ladder for the first time.

ALCOHOL: No extra rise on alcohol duty above the already planned increase.

TOBACCO: Tobacco Tax Rate up by 2% above inflation from 6pm tonight

SCIENCE: Extra £100m for new science facilities, which includes the John Innes Centre in Norwich. (£26m) The Chancellor says the money for this will come from the levy made on profits by the banks.

ROADS: 100m to repair potholes on roads

GREEN INVESTMENT: Creation of Green investiment bank in 2012

WORK EXPERIENCE: 100,000 new work experience scheme places and funding for another 40,000 apprenticeships

PENSIONS: Regular reviews of increase in state pension age and a bid to simplify the pensions system

COUNCIL TAX: Every council frozen council tax

IPSWICH FIT FOR THE 21ST CENTURY: £18.3 million for an integrated package of sustainable transport improvements in Ipswich, including improved bus facilities and walking and cycling routes.

ENTERPRISE ZONES: Introduction of 21 new Enterprise Zones based on Local Enterprise Partnership areas, which includes things like getting faster broadband, although these have not been given in Norfolk and Suffolk. However, there will still be the chance for groups in our counties to bid for ten extra zones as part of a competition.

Some responses to the budget:

Matthew Hancock, MP for West Suffolk said:

"In the run up to the Budget, the overwhelming demand I heard across west Suffolk was for help for families and businesses with the cost of fuel. The Chancellor has delivered more than I could have hoped for. And with everyone able to earn another £600 before they start paying tax, on top of the £1000 already announced, that's up to £325 extra in the pocket - very welcome.

And in terms of supporting the economy, today’s budget is extremely strong. The focus on enterprise and growth opens up huge opportunities to the people of West Suffolk – particularly given our proximity to Cambridge and Norwich, both of which have research centres that will benefit from infrastructure projects confirmed today. The emergency budget ‘rescue mission’ of last June secured the foundations of our economy, and today Britain has been given the tools to build on them. I know that the measures announced today will benefit small businesses across my constituency, and I welcome them wholeheartedly."

Norwich South MP said he welcomed the support for first time buyers:

"The support announced in the budget will, I hope, support many first time buyers locally and provide a real boost to the construction industry.

We've seen a real slump in first time house buyers in the last few years, and I'm pleased to see the Chancellor respond with hard proposals to address the struggle faced particularly by young people hoping to get on the housing ladder."

Labour’s Richard Howitt MEP said:
"George Osborne had a choice today. A sensible Treasury minister would ease up on his plans to cut slash spending, put in place measures to get unemployment down, and address our crippling shortage of affordable homes. But sadly the Chancellor rejected the plans for growth that make economic sense and instead ploughed on with his ideologically driven attack on public services.
The single most important result of Budget is even slower growth meaning businesses and people without jobs in Norfolk will suffer even more. I am particularly disappointed that there was no mention of East Anglia as a location for a new enterprise zone. Our region needs help for growth and jobs too.
The sharpest spending cuts since 1945 begin next month and these cuts put the economic recovery in Norfolk and Suffolk at risk as well as being socially divisive.
(In Norfolk) Our street lights are being turned off, the youth service decimated and road safety schemes halted. The end of the Educational Maintenance Allowance and school transport cuts mean students in rural Norfolk are struggling to continue their education. Rail fare rises are crippling commuters with a travel card from Norwich to central London for the first time costing over £100.

(In Suffolk) Our libraries and school crossing patrols are being axed and the youth service decimated. The end of the Educational Maintenance Allowance means students in rural Suffolk are struggling to continue their education. Park & Ride services have been scrapped. Rail fare rises are crippling commuters with a travel card from Ipswich to central London now costing over £75 or from Lowestoft over £100.

The only glimmer of hope in this budget was the announcement on fuel – though Osborne is wrong to say the proposal to reverse fuel VAT rise is illegal.  The UK can seek agreement at an EU level.
When you cut jobs, stop house building and create a climate of fear, that risks yet more jobs losses and misery which will drive the country backwards not forwards."

Cabinet Minister Andrew Lansley's Repsonse To The Budget In The East