In his latest column, MP Robert Largan welcomes Chancellor Rishi Sunak's statement in the House of Commons and says the government is "on the side of places like the High Peak".
The Chancellor has now set out the next stage in the Government’s economic response to the current crisis. Its focus was on jobs, jobs, jobs.
After the Chancellor’s statement, I spoke in Parliament to make the case to the Chancellor for investment in the High Peak to help unite and level up the country.
I spoke in favour of building the full Mottram bypass; upgrading the Hope Valley line; opening a new railway station in Gamesley; repairing the dam at Toddbrook Reservoir in Whaley Bridge; and investing in the local NHS, building new urgent care centres at Tameside Hospital and Stepping Hill Hospital, as well as delivering a new community health hub in Buxton.
As long as I am your local MP, I will continue to make the case for investment in the High Peak and bang the drum for our area in Westminster. I believe we are making real progress and our area is certainly being talked about more in Parliament than it has been for a long time.
The wider proposals put forward by the Chancellor are a promising sign of his determination to deliver real change for High Peak and the rest of the country.
To help save jobs, once the Job Retention Scheme has ended, employers will receive a one-off bonus of £1,000 for each furloughed employee who is still employed on 31 January 2021. This is absolutely the right thing to do.
The £2 billion Kickstart Scheme will fund new, subsidised jobs for young people who are at risk of long-term unemployment. Funding is being provided for employment support, training and apprenticeships to help people get the skills they need.
The Government is creating new jobs by bringing forward £8.8 billion for new infrastructure, decarbonisation and maintenance projects. This includes 140,000 green jobs. To get the housing market moving, the Government has introduced a temporary cut in Stamp Duty.
Tourism and hospitality in High Peak have endured significant difficulties during the lockdown. The easing of restrictions is welcome but I recognise that local businesses in these crucial sectors still need help. That is why I was delighted with the cut in VAT from 20 per cent to 5 per cent for these sectors from the 15 July to 12 January 2021.
High Peak businesses in tourism and hospitality will also benefit from the Eat Out to Help Out scheme. It will launch next month, giving customers at cafes, pubs and restaurants a 50 per cent discount, of up to £10 per person, on food and non-alcoholic drinks. The discount is available for unlimited times on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays in August.
We have seen the Chancellor do whatever it takes to help people cope with the impact of Coronavirus. Paying the wages of workers, providing loans and grants to businesses, and cutting taxes, though not perfect in their design, have been essential to getting the High Peak through this.
There is no doubt that the next few months are going to be very difficult. There is no roadmap to recovery. The Government won’t get everything right but they are on the side of places like the High Peak. Whatever the future may hold, I will continue to be a loud voice for our area in Parliament.