I spoke in the Budget Debate today, setting out what the Chancellor's package of support really means for our area as we recover from the coronavirus pandemic. You can watch the speech in the above video or read a copy of it below.
Budget Debate, Simon Jupp MP
Thank you, Mr. Deputy Speaker.
Much has been said in the press about a perception that this Budget would be focused on the North.
It may make a pre-determined headline work, but it doesn’t reflect the package of measures which will help every corner of our country, including my home county of Devon.
I joined a conference call with local hoteliers in East Devon last night, hosted by the excellent Sidmouth Town Council.
The extension of the furlough scheme will help keep staff on the books as the hospitality industry re-opens its doors in May, with restrictions still in place.
Much praise was heaped on the new restart grants, providing up to £18,000 to hospitality businesses.
This will give hotels, pubs and restaurants across East Devon a welcome boost before the tourism season kicks in.
When they fling open their doors, the support continues with a suitably Conservative flavour by keeping taxes low to help businesses thrive.
The extension to the VAT cut to 5% for hospitality, accommodation and attractions is something I’ve been calling for over several months, alongside further business rates relief.
Both of these measures are real game-changers for an industry hit hard by the pandemic.
I’m glad my calls to extend this support were heard and delivered by this Budget.
East Devon’s economy is heavily reliant on hospitality and the feedback from the industry was positive.
I’m looking forward to visiting many businesses across the constituency as they re-open.
Whilst the support for hospitality industry is nationwide, it will particularly benefit Devon – and the whole county will reap the benefits of several other announcements too.
I fought hard to secure support for regional airports after the huge loss of Flybe and the impact of the pandemic.
Only one flight landed at Exeter Airport in my constituency today – not a huge surprise in the circumstances, but the past year has been a bitter blow to the aviation industry.
The airport support scheme I campaigned for will be extended for 6 months as work continues on the long-awaited Aviation Recovery Plan.
It will take the aviation sector longer than most to recover from the crisis and taxes including Air Passenger Duty need urgent reform to help the industry back on its feet.
On the ground, more than £40 million of funding was included in the budget to reinstate passenger services on the Exeter to Okehampton railway line.
This will help encourage more sustainable journey’s across Devon and improve connectivity across the county and the city of Exeter, which I’m proud to also represent.
Another warmly welcomed announcement for Devon was a Freeport which will help create thousands of jobs across the county.
Businesses in Devon will benefit from more generous tax relief, simplified customs procedures and wider government support, bringing investment, trade and jobs which will help regenerate our region.
Meanwhile, the new Future Fund presents opportunities for businesses across Devon, including some based at the Exeter Science Park.
The £375 million fund will invest in highly innovative companies working in life sciences, quantum computing, or clean technology.
And the “rabbit out of the hat budget bonus” was undoubtedly the new super-deduction which will cut companies’ tax bill by 25p for every pound they invest in new equipment.
This is worth around £25 billion to UK companies and will kick-start an investment led recovery.
It isn’t just our economy that will benefit from this budget.
Devon is home to many veterans, and I’m proud to have the Royal Marines Commando Training Centre in Lympstone.
Those who risk their lives to protect our nation deserve our support.
I was really pleased to see an extra £10 million invested in Armed Forces Covenant Fund Trust which will deliver projects to support veteran’s mental health.
There’s also continued extra support for the lowest paid and most vulnerable on Universal Credit and the National Living Wage will rise again in April.
We’re also helping people back into work with our Plan for Jobs.
140,000 kickstart job placements have been approved in the first 6 months of the scheme, with many in Devon.
Whether it’s support for sectors hit hard by the pandemic, or investment and new opportunities across my home county, this budget delivers for Devon and our whole nation in exceptionally difficult circumstances.