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North East has been ignored once more; George Osborne's Budget failed to inspire many in the business community. IAN PARKER, partner at commercial property consultant GVA in Newcastle, has his own criticisms.


IHAVE looked at all aspects of the budget and it has confirmed my concerns that the North East is being short-changed by the coalition Government relative to other regions, Scotland, Wales and London.

Key points include: ? 1. Enhanced Enterprise Zone allowances for Deeside, North Wales and London Royal Docks. Not surprising!

2. Scottish Enterprise Zones in Irvine, Nigg and Dundee. Are we courting our northern neighbour? ? 3. A new Northern rail hub for the North - pounds 130m investment to improve transport links between Manchester and Sheffield, Rochdale, Halifax, Bradford, Bolton, Preston and Blackpool. This on the back of previously announced investment on the Trans Pennine railway route from Manchester to Leeds and building the Ordsall Chord between Manchester Piccadilly and Manchester Victoria stations.

Does the North end at Leeds? Does Alex Ferguson or the BBC have influence in Whitehall? ? 4. The Government will also provide an additional pounds 50m to fund a second wave of 10 smaller, super-connected cities, extend mobile coverage to 60,000 rural homes and along at least 10 key roads by 2015 including the A2 and A29 in Northern Ireland, the A57, A143, A169, A352, A360 and A591 in England, the A82(T) in Scotland and the A470(T) in Wales.

The only help to the region appears to be heading for Scarborough!

5. The Government has agreed proposals with the Greater Manchester Combined Authority to pilot an innovative new Earn Back Model that is set to unlock pounds 1.2bn of infrastructure investment across the city region. This follows the agreement reached with Liverpool in February, which established a new local development board.

Proposals from Bristol, Birmingham, Leeds, Newcastle, Nottingham and Sheffield will be finalised over the course of 2012. The North East will be competing for a total of pounds 150m, which may be seen as a drop in the ocean even if equally shared.

6. The coalition Government has steered the Green Bank to Scotland, invested heavily in London and concentrated new rail investment towards Birmingham and the North West.

The Romans were much cleverer.

They headed up the East - we have the "numero uno A1", which is still a cart track north of Morpeth, whereas our Northern neighbours appear to have benefited from an abundance of funds to invest in new motorways and trunk roads over recent decades. The North East has only 36 miles of motorway - from Barton to Wardley and one mile of Newcastle central motorway!

? 7. The final kick in the teeth was to pick up The Journal and read that the new "pasty tax" has wiped pounds 30m off the share value of Greggs, one of the North East's most successful and everexpanding companies.

In the same edition I read that they were named the Tyneside and Northumberland Company of the Year in the nebusiness awards 2012. I could go on forever, but I have while considering the Budget confirmed my fears that we honest people in the North East are again being short-changed by another Government unconcerned because they have few votes "up North". Other regions are easier picking.

Ian Parker, consultant, GVA, Newcastle


CONCERNS Ian Parker believes the Government short-changed the region in the latest Budget
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Title Annotation:Business
Publication:The Journal (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 28, 2012
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