Budget Reaction – Bristol Chamber & Initiative Welcomes City Region Devolution Deal
Commenting on the Chancellor’s Budget, James Durie, Chief Executive of the Bristol Chamber of Commerce and Initiative at Business West, said:
“We are very pleased to hear the Chancellor announce a devolution deal worth £900 million to the Bristol & Bath city region, including a directly elected city region mayor. This much hoped for deal shows that our local authorities are committed to working closer together and means we will join the other ambitious city regions of England in being granted significant devolved powers. We believe this region will be better equipped to focus on its growth into the future and have the opportunity for clearer leadership as well as national and international visibility.
“Greater control over our transport budget and a new £900 million ‘gain share’ mechanism will allow our local authorities to invest in better infrastructure and future growth and is to be warmly welcomed. This is a significant step forward for our region and will allow us to put much greater weight on tackling some of our major transport and infrastructure problems that hold back our businesses. This is just the start of how we can grow our economy.
“We are also pleased that the Chancellor has listened to the business voices from right across the South West and not devolved Air Passenger Duty to Wales. We have been expressing concern that this move would have impacted negatively on our regional airports, in particular Bristol Airport, and potentially reduce our connectivity with global markets. We seek measures that will make the South West and indeed the whole of the UK plc more successful, not ones that change the economic playing field and just transfer existing activity across boundaries. Together with our Chamber of Commerce colleagues from right across the South West, we wrote to George Osborne asking him not to push through with this change, and we are very glad he has listened.”