East Anglia’s MPs in plea for funding in Budget

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak. Picture: HOUSE OF COMMONS

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak. Picture: HOUSE OF COMMONS - Credit: Archant

MPs from across the region have called on new Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak not to forget the East of England when he prepares his first Budget next month.

Mr Sunak, who moved into No 11 Downing Street on Thursday, was due to unveil his first Budget on March 11 - although that date is now uncertain because he might need longer to check the figures prepared by his predecessor Sajid Javid.

But co-chairs of the East of England All Party Parliamentary Group, MPs Peter Aldous and Daniel Zeichner, have written to him calling for the region to not be overlooked in a speech which is widely expected to focus on "levelling up" and the north of England.

Their letter highlights coastal communities, including Clacton-on-Sea (where Jaywick is the most deprived neighbourhood of all 32,844 in England), Colchester, Felixstowe, Great Yarmouth, Ipswich, Lowestoft and Kings Lynn which urgently need regeneration and Government support.

Mr Aldous, MP for Waveney, said they: "require levelling up support every bit as 'left behind' towns in the north and midlands."

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The official Budget representation from the APPG also makes the case that lack of quality transport and digital connectivity is frustrating the potential of the region.

Cambridge MP Mr Zeichner said the new Chancellor should: "Invest in urgent transport schemes including much needed improvements to the A14, A47, A120 and the West Anglian Mainline. Raising transport investment per head of population to the England average is crucial and overdue."

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It also highlights "growing concerns about whether the region can generate and retain

through its education, skills and apprenticeship offer and provision - the required skills, including for STEM related as well as lower skilled employment, that will be needed to support ambitious plans for economic growth post Brexit."

It also calls for "greater funding for local government so councils can become genuine place makers and shapers again, for example building - or commissioning - affordable homes and working with businesses to facilitate economic growth and where appropriate help drive forward coastal town regeneration."

The letter ends by saying: "as one of the fastest growing UK regions and a net contributor to the Exchequer, investing in the East of England allows the UK to prosper more and generates extra revenue for the Government, which can then be spent on its priorities including levelling up.

"However, to realise its potential the East of England still requires some specific Government support - for example on transport, skills, local government and on coastal communities - and we trust that you will consider our requests fully and favourably."

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