Local MP welcomes more help for Scotland in Chancellor's Autumn Statement
David Mundell has welcomed the measures outlined yesterday in Chancellor George Osborne's Autumn Statement. The Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale MP said he hoped some of the £433 million extra capital investment Scotland that will receive would make its' way to the region.
Speaking after the measures were announced, Mr Mundell said: "This Autumn Statement comes at a difficult economic time, but I am glad the UK Government has identified the priorities which will make a real difference to people locally. I'm particularly pleased that the Chancellor has listened to concerns voiced by myself and others regarding more help for motorists. The plan for next year was that fuel duty would be 3 pence higher in January than it is now, with a further 2 pence increase next August; instead the January increase will now be scrapped altogether and ensure that in August fuel duty will only rise by 3 pence. So fuel duty will in fact be frozen for nineteen months in total - from next April petrol duty will be a full 10 pence lower than it would have been under Labour, and without the action taken by this Government."
Scotland will benefit from specific policies announced in the Autumn Statement, which include an increase in the basic state pension, benefiting 1 million Scottish pensioners. Cross-border transport links will receive a boost, with £50 million being made available to replace the Caledonian Sleeper fleet and improve on-train facilities. Investment in telecoms, including broadband, will improve coverage in more rural parts of the UK.
Mr Mundell added: "I am also pleased to see that specific action is being taken to tackle youth unemployment. The new Youth Contract will see Government-funded incentives for companies taking on young people, as well as delivering extra support for unemployed 18-24 year olds from JobCentre Plus. Almost £1 billion will be invested to help young people get jobs and training, in addition to the help more families will get through our doubling of the number of childen who will receive free nursery care. These measures will reduce spending permanently in the medium and long-term; in the short-term this Government will use the savings to support balanced economic growth, infrastructure investment, social mobility and helping young people find work.
“Our country is facing challenging times, and things will be tough for a long time, thanks to the mistakes of the previous Labour Government; but this Autumn Statement shows that our Government is committed not only to tackling the debt, but to protecting our finances in the long-term by improving the prospects of young people and helping families with the daily cost of living wherever possible."