A lot has been achieved but there is still a lot more to be getting on with. That is the message the Chancellor delivered last week in his Autumn Statement to the House of Commons. I think George Osborne is right to be positive, with original growth figures upgraded to 2.4% for next year it is clear the economy is turning a corner and it is also clear his plan is the right one. We need to continue on the path of cutting our deficit and stimulating growth so that we can balance the books and after five years we could even be running a surplus. I also think that no one is saying this news allows us to rest on our laurels. There is still a long way to go and we still need to provide the right incentives to keep growth going.
There was some good news for Cornwall with the announcement firstly of the fuel price freeze next year. I believe this will be welcomed by many, because people in our part of the world cannot necessarily always use public transport for getting to work and rely on their car which can become really expensive. Cornish Business can also struggle because of their distance from markets and associated transport costs. I have often argued that this needs to be taken into account. The fuel price freeze is important in keeping the costs of living down and I know many families will be pleased with this commitment.
We also need to help our young people find that first job and there was a range of measures announced that will encourage that. When I visit schools in our area and Cornwall College I am always struck by a real culture of striving to achieve excellence and over the past few years I have been really impressed by the young people I meet. They deserve all the help they can get when it comes to moving on and the Government’s move to scrap employers’ National Insurance contributions for under 21’s is a step in the right direction. The Jobcentre will also do more to help sixteen to eighteen year olds find a suitable apprenticeship or traineeship if they are not in work..
There is also some good news for our shops and the High Street with help for those struggling with burdensome business rates. As of next year a business will have up to a one thousand allowance if they have a rateable value of fifty thousand or less and the planned rate rise will be capped and less than originally planned. I often hear of these rates causing concern and this relief is crucial. Overall, we need to make sure that with everyone talking about a recovery this is felt in people’s pockets.
George Eustice can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1 Trevenson Street, Camborne, Cornwall TR14 8JD or by telephone on 020 72197032.