Reaction To Budget Statement

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24 Jun 2010
The new Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne delivered his anxiously awaited Budget statement to the House of Commons this week and unfortunately there was more bad news in it for our region.

Last week the Coalition Government hit South Yorkshire hard with a triple whammy; cancellation of the agreed loan to Sheffield Forgemasters, suspension of Sheffield city centre’s regeneration and an end to the purchase of the Outukumpu site. This is not to mention the elimination of the Future Jobs Fund, which has helped many people get back in to work through the recession. All of these decisions will cost our region high skill jobs and growth.

Now the Government have announced that the regional development agency Yorkshire Forward is to be abolished. Set up by the Labour Government over ten years ago to regenerate coalfield sites, Yorkshire Forward has helped invest over £30 million in the Rother Valley, bringing thousands of jobs and businesses to this area.

Before the general election many local business leaders called for Yorkshire Forward to be protected in order to ensure that we have a regional approach to planning for economic investment and growth in the future. Sadly the process to abolish Yorkshire Forward will now commence later this year.

Instead of plans to support economic growth and to protect jobs it is starting to look as though the Government is going to pull the plug on support for business and throw people out of work, policies which will end up stifling economic growth.

I well remember the damage that was done to the Rother Valley in the 1980s and early 1990s, when jobs were decimated and people were left high and dry. At the moment South Yorkshire seems to be bearing the brunt of the Government’s decisions, I just hope that history is not starting to repeat itself.