Chancellor's 'sensible' budget will 'turbo-charge' Portsmouth's economy

POLITICIANS have insisted Rishi Sunak’s Budget will be a ‘game-changer’ and will ‘turbo-charge’ Portsmouth’s future economy.

Wednesday, 3rd March 2021, 7:36 pm
Suella Braverman, Fareham MP.

Tory MP’s have thrown their weight behind the chancellor’s latest cash splurge – in particular championing the news of the creation of the new Solent freeport.

Portsmouth’s Liberal Democrat leader, Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson also welcomed the new spending pledge by the treasury, describing it as ‘sensible’.

However, city Labour leader and Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan lashed out and insisted the chancellor had ‘failed’ the city.

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Portsmouth South MP Stephen Morgan

He said: ‘This budget fails to deliver for Portsmouth and the government’s own levelling-up agenda. It barely mentioned inequality, let alone tried to address it. This is not levelling up, but giving up.

‘It fails our families, young people, key workers and those left ignored by the government both during this and successive Tory governments.

‘From the local cabbie on our high street, to the NHS nurse at our own QA Hospital, they did not get what they needed today.’

But Tory cabinet minister Penny Mordaunt, Portsmouth North MP, disagreed and insisted the city would gain massively from the chancellor’s spending plan.

Penny Mordaunt, Portsmouth North MP

She added: ‘The freeport will be a complete game-changer – a customs zone, tax reliefs, planning freedoms and support for regeneration and innovation.

‘As we come out of this pandemic let’s turbo-charge our economy, support our local businesses and put Portsmouth back on the path of regeneration and growth.’

Attorney general and Fareham MP, Suella Braverman, agreed and added: ‘The Solent freeport is a transformational, once-in-a-generation opportunity that will enable the Solent region to realise its full potential.

‘By creating thousands of jobs and attracting billions of pounds of investment, the Solent freeport will rejuvenate local areas, transform productivity and combat economic deprivation, while expediting the economic recovery and growth of our historic towns and cities.’

Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson.Picture: Habibur Rahman

Cllr Vernon-Jackson said the budget was ‘on the whole, not bad’ and added: ‘I think this is a fairly sensible budget. I don't think he is trying to do any flash tricks that some chancellors like to do.

‘Personally there are some things I would have liked to have seen that weren’t included. The time most retail firms can afford to do business rates is long gone… there needs to be a permanent removal of business rates from retail with the exception of big supermarkets that are hugely profitable.

‘So I think he has missed a trick with some of those. And also I’m disappointed there haven’t been any commitments to sorting out the issues between health and social care which governments have been struggling with for the last 15 years.’

Flick Drummond, Meon Valley MP, added it was a ‘very balanced and thoughtful budget’.