Commenting on the Tory Chancellor’s 8th Budget Statement which was delivered earlier today (16th March 2016), Labour MP for Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, Tom Blenkinsop said:
“Today’s Budget provided no clear indication that this Tory Government have any intention of turning the fortunes of Teesside around, and may even entrench its difficulties further.
“The biggest issue facing the area remains the fallout from the closure of SSI and there is not a single mention of the steel industry in the budget booklet. This budget provided the opportunity for George Osborne provide the cash required to sort out the site, instead they are leaving it to rot. My calls for an extension to the remit of the taskforce to account for job losses at Boulby Potash and those offshore workers who are at the sharp end of low oil prices, has fallen on deaf ears.
“In terms of devolution, the meagre level of cash available for the Tees Valley deal will not bring about the overhaul of the area that is required in terms of improving transport links and there was nothing in the Budget in terms Osborne’s ‘Northern Powerhouse’ project receiving a helping hand on Teesside. For all the hot air, none of the much vaunted improvements to transport infrastructure will benefit Teesside, with the bulk of the cash going to London – yet again.
“In order to turn the corner in 2016 and push for a positive Teesside we can’t keep getting cuts on top of the job losses from industries that the area has relied on for generations. One avoidable cut that will protect local jobs is keeping the local tax office here on Teesside. These are public sector jobs that the Government has control over. It doesn’t need to add to the misery of job losses suffered in the private sector.
“Today was all about George Osborne jockeying for position in the Tory leadership race. Unfortunately, it is Teesside that is paying the price.”