Gordon Birtwistle MP writes… My response to the Budget

For me, this budget goes some way towards rebalancing the economy. The last Government left the country in almost financial ruin and have come up with no credible policies in opposition. The chancellor had very little to play with in his budget but I think the steps he is taking are the right ones.

This was definitely a budget influenced by Lib Dems. It was pleasing to see how many of our policies made an appearance in the budget, particularly the increase in the personal allowance over the next three years.

The budget also provided confirmation of the go ahead of the Green Investment Bank which is a welcome move. People have complained that the budget could have been a lot ‘greener’, I agree but think that green issues will be a better budget focus when we are out of the danger zone with the economy fully back on track. I look forward to future budgets when we are in a financially stable position and the Chancellor can be environmentally innovative with his budget.

For me personally the content on apprenticeships and manufacturing were very welcome. The UK used to manufacture more than three times the current output of manufacturing, but in recent years we have become a service industry importing things we used to make. We must get Britain making and exporting things again!

Manufacturing growth has bucked the trend recently with consistent growth. In January, manufacturing output in the UK increased at its fastest year-on-year pace since November 1994. We must maintain and build on this. That the budget recognises this is good news and I am extremely hopeful for the future of manufacturing in the UK.

One of the problems the industry has faced however is the lack of a skills base. Companies are expanding but can’t find the staff they need and some are sending big jobs overseas as they simply cannot find enough highly skilled staff. This budget goes someway to addressing that issue by creating an additional 50,000 apprenticeship places over the next four years.

Not only will the creation of these apprenticeships help to provide a strong skills base in the UK, they will help young unemployed people into the workforce. Young people have been hit unfairly hard by the economic crisis and by creating £180m worth of apprenticeships along with work placements we are not only investing in their future but in the future of this country. It’s fantastic to think in 4 years time, there will now be a further 250,000 young apprentices in the UK learning invaluable skills.

It has been proven that we can no longer rely on the banks to hold up the economy. Our economy is fragile and weak so we must ensure that we have strength across the board in many different sectors. Small and medium size businesses must be supported and I think this Budget gives a lot of concessions to SMEs to help them develop. One of the ways in which they will receive help is with tax breaks for research and development. I am sure this will appeal to many businesses as it is an issue which has been raised with me a number of times in the past 8 months, including by businesses in my own constituency.

It’s also about time that some of the burdensome regulations are lifted, and tax simplified. We have become a nation of red tape, rules and regulations which hinders business and growth. Plans to integrate the operation of Income Tax and National Insurance Contributions are adventurous and if successful, very welcomed. George Osborne could use this budget as a beginning for some radical and legendary tax reforms. As the Chancellor said, we need to show that the UK is open for business and I for one welcome this budget as a step in the right direction.

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8 Comments

  • Would you have written this article if the Tories had had a majority government and produced this Budget, and the Lib Dems were still in Opposition?

  • Andrew, why does it matter in the slightest what Labour would have done? Does that make the failures of this government acceptable because a hypothetical Labour government may have been worse?

  • greg Tattersall 26th Mar '11 - 10:28pm

    I hope you realise Gordon the effect of trebeling tuition fees will have a negative impact on young people.I can see no influence of lib dems on the conservative led government.This policy will hit hard those students who come from families whose parents earn modest incomes.This is a real kick in the teeth for hard working folk who want their children to do better.

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