Autumn Statement 2023: Regional political reaction

November 22, 2023

West of England Metro Mayor Dan Norris attacked Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Statement for failing to tackle key, long-standing issues for the region.

The Labour mayor, pictured, who leads the West of England Combined Authority, said: “After 13 years of Conservative Government, the question West of England residents will be asking at the next election is simple: ‘are my family and I better off?’ The answer is a resounding no.

“Prices are still rising in the shops, energy bills are up and forecast to be hiked again in January while mortgages are still soaring.

“In fact, a quarter of households in my patch face a shocking repayment rise of nearly £2,000-plus in the next 12 months – and growth has hit a dead end.

“Nothing the Chancellor said or did in his Autumn Statement changes that appalling record.

“With 25 tax rises since 2019, the Tories are the party of high tax. A small tax cut worth £450, according to the Chancellor, when households in my region are paying £4,000 more in tax each year than they did in 2010, will do little to help families struggling with a frightening cost of living crisis.”

Mayor Norris did welcome the additional investment into key strategic sectors for the region – including in the automotive and aerospace industries – plus more cash for AI to help create more Bristol supercomputing success stories.

“The additional tax relief for creative companies and extra support for retailers really struggling during a cost-of-doing-business crisis is also positive. And I cautiously welcome the objective of additional powers for mayoral combined authorities like mine – I await further details,” he added.

“But as always, this is another Budget that was more notable for what was not in it. Where is the long-term serious plan to tackle the NHS backlog? Why is there nothing here on transport or building on the success of regional schemes like my £10m RetrofitWest scheme and insulating more homes?

“The West of England has so much potential – we have the drive to do whatever we put our minds to. But we have a Conservative government that is an anchor to progress. It’s one that’s out of ideas, out of touch and out of time. The West of England really needs them out of office too.”

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