The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, announced some very exciting new spending commitments which will have a positive impact for the people of North Herefordshire.

Coronavirus/ Covid-19

The NHS in this Budget has been given a £5 billion Initial COVID-19 Response Fund and £40 million for COVID-19 research

We are all rightly concerned about the Coronavirus or Covid-19 and I recommend that we follow Health England’s guidance and regularly wash our hands.

The Government will also contribute up to £150 million to the International Monetary Fund’s Catastrophe Containment and Relief Trust to help the effort to stop further transmission, including in the UK.

Statutory Sick Pay will also be available to all those advised to self-isolate, even if they are not symptomatic.

Together, we will make sure the damage from Covid-19 is limited and we must all do our bit to mitigate these risks.

Flood Defences

North Herefordshire has suffered more than most counties from flooding. The water may have receded but now the work must begin as quickly as possible.

That is why I welcome the commitment of £5.2 billion, £1.2 billion more than was promised in the manifesto to re-build, maintain and create new flood defences.

It is essential that the devastation we witnessed does not happen again and improving our flood defences will help.

In addition to the flood defence money, £120 million more will be allocated to the Environment Agency.

Roads and potholes

The Chancellor has pledged a very welcome £640 billion of capital investment in roads, railways, communications, schools, hospitals and power networks.

Importantly for North Herefordshire, the national pothole fund will reach a total of £2.5 billion over the course of this Government. That is will allow us to fill in 10 million potholes every year.

It is therefore imperative that the Council and their contractors use the money provided to them to end the scourge of potholes.

Connectivity

The Chancellor today announced a £5 billion funding commitment to support gigabit-capable broadband in the hard to reach areas.

For North Herefordshire this is a very welcome announcement.

It is time we were brought up to the same connectivity level as the rest of the country.

I fully understand how many businesses now rely on strong internet connection and this commitment will bring internet speeds 40 times faster than the current output to our county.

To add to this, £1 billion will be invested in the Shared Rural Network bringing 95% of the UK onto high quality 4G mobile phone connectivity.

Red Diesel Relief

This Government will continue the Red Diesel Relief for agriculture.

This is good news for North Herefordshire’s farmers who are already lowering their emission outputs

Cider/Beer/Wine Duty

The Chancellor has made a very welcome commitment to freeze the duty rates on wine, spirits, beer and cider and as North Herefordshire is famous for its hop and cider production, and for our beautiful pubs. All of these businesses will benefit greatly from the freeze.

This Government was given a clear mandate and it is committed to levelling up North Herefordshire and truly making us open for business.