Andrew has provided the following update on the recent Budget.
What with flooding and coronavirus, the budget last week was very much overlooked. There were however some national changes which I think are very welcomed and a specific budget promise for flood defence funding in the Goole area which is very welcomed.
The budget outlined £26 million of funding to improve the flood defences in the Goole area. This builds on the millions spent in recent years improving the river defences on the Dutch River at Old Goole, the improvements on the Ouse at Reedness, works at Rawcliffe Bridge, on the Aire at Airmyn and yes, the piling of the banks at Snaith in 2015. All of that was largely in response to the damage done by the tidal surge in 2013.
This new £26 million is largely to continue those works as the tidal surge and recent extreme weather events means that more works are required to the defences in the Goole area. This of course will cover an area much broader than Goole, taking in the River Ouse, Dutch River and River Aire in our area.
Obviously, given what has happened at Snaith and Cowick recently, following investigations into that, additional funding will be needed and any works may be able to dovetail in with this funding. However, it is too early at this stage to say what exactly may or may not be required.
This funding is very welcome and the fact that it was specifically mentioned in the budget documents, demonstrated the very real risk flooding poses to our area. The funding will cover a number of different improvement schemes which will be worked on in the coming years. This is very welcome news and I will be working with the Environment Agency and other partners to ensure that these schemes are brought forward as quickly as possible.
Whilst the main focus right now is going to be coronavirus, to which we have devoted billions of pounds extra to the NHS for, other measures I think residents will appreciate and benefit from include -
• Putting more money in peoples’ pockets with an over £200 tax cut for the typical family. We will increase the National Insurance threshold to £9,500 this April, benefiting 31 million people with a typical employee saving over £100 in 2020 – the first step to reaching our ambition to increase the threshold to £12,500.
• Increasing the National Living Wage to boost the wages of the lowest paid. The National Living Wage will increase by 6.2 per cent to £8.72 from April. The Budget commits to a new ambitious target for the National Living Wage to end low pay and extend this to workers aged 21 and over by 2024.
• Freezing fuel duty for a tenth year in a row to help with the cost of living. We will freeze fuel duty for the tenth year in a row saving the average car driver a cumulative £1,200 compared to Labour’s plan.
· Freezing duty rates on beer, spirits, wine and cider helping with the cost of living. This will be only the second time in almost 20 years a government has frozen all these duties