‘Suffolk has been forgotten about in the past’ – County’s MPs share their hopes for Budget 2020
PUBLISHED: 05:30 09 March 2020
Two Suffolk MPs have said they hope the county is not “forgotten about” by new Chancellor Rishi Sunak as he prepares to announce his first budget.
Mr Sunak, who took over the role in mid February, will put forward his budget - which some are already labelling the "coronavirus budget" - on Wednesday.
Two local MPs say they believe times are changing for the county, arguing the county has previously spent "years" of being overshadowed.
It comes after a letter was sent by Suffolk leaders to the chancellor last month calling for the economy to be "rebalanced". MORE: Suffolk leaders plea to chancellor over A14 delays
Among the top priorities for the county continue to be the battle against coastal erosion, traffic issues following the collapse of the proposed Ipswich northern bypass, and the changing face of local high streets.
Ipswich MP Tom Hunt said "Absolutely Suffolk has been forgotten about in the past - we need to fundamentally change the way Suffolk gets such a poor deal, especially in areas like policing.
"I am aiming to make a speech in parliament to put Suffolk's case forward, and to make sure Suffolk stops getting such a raw end of the deal."
Among his hopes for the budget are changes to business rates legislation and a reduction in beer duty to aid local pubs.
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He added: "I would like to see a complete overhaul on business rates to help boost our town centre, as it feels nothing is being done to change things.
"We need to level the playing field between the big online shops and the businesses on our high street to help improve the centre of town.
"I would also like to see significant investment on the A14, particularly at the Copdock Interchange.
"I'm disappointed that the northern bypass is off the table - for now - but I hope we can soon build another case for why we need it."
Peter Aldous, MP for Waveney, echoed Mr Hunt's view, but thought coronavirus will take "centre stage" in the budget over local issues such as coastal erosion.
He said: "When you look at investment over the years in comparison to other areas of the country, statistically we have not done as well.
"We need to review funding formulas so we can get the funds to the right place and help the needs of people in the county.
"From a trade point of view, there are certainly new opportunities from the North Sea for the fishing industry following Brexit and offshore wind farms.
"We need to harvest as much of this as we can, and that means investment will be needed."