The Economy

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:22 pm on 8th July 2020.

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Photo of Steve Barclay Steve Barclay The Chief Secretary to the Treasury 3:22 pm, 8th July 2020

It is to address that exact reason that the Chancellor did not simply announce a VAT cut to help that sector. It is also why the eat out to help out programme is particularly targeted. Demand is key to those businesses being able to restart and take back people who are furloughed. It is predominantly and disproportionately the young who are most affected within that sector, and that is why the measures are targeted to help those who would have been most scarred economically if they lost their jobs at the start of their career.

The commitment to levelling up across the regions, including in Cumbria—in a way I am sure the hon. Gentleman, who is a proponent of localism, would support—is not just about the big-ticket projects such as High Speed 2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail, important though those are. It is every bit as much about numerous smaller-scale projects: the trunk roads, the local bus services, the flood defences—projects that rarely make national headlines but are every bit as transformative at a local level. That is why the Government have announced more than £100 million for local road upgrades. It means that we can proceed with much-needed bridge repairs in Sandwell, we can set about upgrading the A15 in the Humber region, and we can provide £10 million to support tackling bottlenecks in the Manchester rail network to bring about a faster, more reliable journey for thousands of passengers.

Our commitment to levelling up is directly linked to another of the Government’s totemic ambitions—that of achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050.