Little direct support for east in Sunak's autumn Budget

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak delivering his Budget to the House of Commons

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak delivering his Budget to the House of Commons in London - but there was no mention of the east during his speech. - Credit: PA

Rishi Sunak's autumn Budget had very little targeted specifically at East Anglia - and virtually nothing for Suffolk except the new cash pledge for Sizewell.

But politicians were still picking over the details of the national picture to work out what it could eventually mean for the region.

The only Suffolk project mentioned in the government's briefing, apart from the grant for the Racehorse Inn at Westhall, was a reminder that the government is helping to fund the new Gull Wing bridge at Lowestoft.

Politicians had their own take on the surprise news that the "taper" for Universal Credit payments was being reduced by 8%, meaning that those who start earning will lose only 55% of their benefits rather than the current 63% for every pound they earn.

Ipswich MP Tom Hunt and Central Suffolk and North Ipswich MP Dr Dan Poulter both welcomed this as a way of ensuring work could pay for those returning to the labour market.

Ipswich council's Labour leader David Ellesmere welcomed this to a point, but added: "This still doesn't undo the damage that George Osborne did when he introduced the taper in the first place!"

He felt the Budget was a missed opportunity - and warned that town centre shops would be disappointed with the lack of any immediate reform of business rates.

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While some parts of the country were promised billions of pounds in investment in the Budget - albeit after they had heard about it in weekend press releases - there was no mention of any major new schemes in Suffolk or Ipswich.

That did not worry Mr Hunt: "You have to remember Ipswich got £25m from the Town's Fund, the maximum available to it and that is now being worked up. And the area is benefitting from the fact that Felixstowe is becoming a freeport and that could bring in thousands of new jobs."

He welcomed the extra spending promised for special needs education and pledged to fight to ensure Ipswich and Suffolk got its fair share - he accepted the county lags behind on government spending in these areas.

Dr Poulter felt the support for those in the greatest need was welcome and hoped there would be a boost for public services in the area.

The leader of the Green Party opposition at the county council, Andrew Stringer, was unimpressed with many aspects of the budget including environmental issues and its changes to excise duty.

The Chancellor's promise to reform excise duty could, he feared, pose problems for some micro-breweries in the county because their containers were often smaller than the 40-litre limit proposed for lower limit duty proposed by the chancellor to support pub sales.

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