Stephen Church, EY’s North Markets Leader, comments on what the Spring Statement means for the North

24th March 2022, 11:25 am

“The Spring Statement was meant to be policy light, but instead the Chancellor delivered a few immediate reforms now and promised a fuller course of incentives in the Autumn. This had less of the feel of a Chancellor responding to crises, and more of one delivering a vision.

“The immediate cuts were focused on today’s sources of pain – that of fuel duties – matched with commitments to allow the Chancellor to maintain credibility in the journey to Net Zero. Beyond this, the mention of Levelling Up was notably absent – a disappointment compared to the treasury’s Autumn statement, and the government’s recent Levelling Up white paper.

“In order to truly level up and reduce regional inequalities, the focus must be on substantial, long-term and fair funding across the whole country. In turn, building a strong Northern economy that can deliver prosperity for all.

“The question now will be whether the UK economy allows the Chancellor to stick to his course, or whether crises will continue to beset his plans. Either way what could be seen as a missed opportunity for the Levelling Up agenda in today’s statement, will only increase pressure for the government to deliver on commitments come the Autumn Budget.”

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