Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s long-awaited budget was laced with not-so-subtle hints for the South East. Peppered with asides to the north and the midlands, the budget’s spending pledges were cold comfort to our region.
Announcing a dedicated trade envoy for the North, Midlands, Wales and West of England, the Chancellor may as well have said “anywhere but the South East.” Then came a pledge to spread science funding away from the South East and to universities in the rest of the country.
Sunak spoke of a shift in the government’s mindset, citing a new economic campus for Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and the North, a new devolution deal for West Yorkshire, creating low carbon jobs in Teeside and Merseyside, London-style funding settlements for the new West Yorkshire mayor worth £1.1bn, investment in towns like Stoke, Preston, Derby, and roadbuilding in the north.
In these trying and troubled times, as a hopeful budget is delivered to the rest of the country, it is disheartening that the great many pockets of poverty across our region are to be swept under the carpet yet again.
Chairman, Coastal West Sussex Partnership