Eastleigh’s MP’s say they are “delighted” with Chancellor George Osborne’s latest budget which details support for major projects in the area.
The Borough’s two Conservative MPs, Mims Davies, the MP for Eastleigh and Steve Brine the MP for Winchester and Chandler’s Ford spoke to Eastleigh News on College Green, outside the Houses of Parliament straight after the budget announcement and were both obviously very pleased with what they’d just heard in the commons chamber.
Mims Davies was pleased that the promised Chicknehall Lane link road is on track. The long awaited relief road is specifically named in the budget book as a South East regional infrastructure project entitled to bid for funding.
The MP told me:
“I’m absolutely deligedted to have been heard by the chancellor.
“This is something people getting to Eastleigh or working around the airport need.
“It’s going to expand the horizons of the airport and the jobs around it and hopefully clear up some of the pollution that’s being caused by traffic queuing up to get into town”
“Local councillors have said to me they want to see the Chickenhall Lane link road delivered and we had a summit with the LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership), Hampshire County Council and the Chief Executive of Eastleigh Borough Council and we re wrote our submission back to the DFT.
“They know we are serious about delivering more jobs – if we continue to work together.
“We also need to find the right scheme I do not want it to affect the airport.
“We need to find the right route, one that is cost effective to make sure this comes forward as soon as possible.”
In a tweet Eastleigh’s Liberal Democrat council leader Keith House described the news that the council would have to take part in a bidding process to secure funding as “another broken tory promise” adding “but we will bid and hold Mims Davies to account.”
Steve Brine had taken an active in part in the campaign to secure funding to develop a Children’s A&E department at Southampton General Hospital and said he was “absolutely thrilled” at news that the Government will be supporting the initiative.
“We had the campaign ‘Say Yes George’ and George has clearly listened to our case. We now have two million pounds matched funding now for the new children’s emergency department.
“We’re going raise the rest it’s going to make a huge difference and we are absolutely delighted.”
Alan Whitehead the Labour MP for Southampton Test, is currently the only opposition MP in the area.
Although he admitted “I’m delighted with one or two aspects of the budget” he went on to say that overall the country will be facing tough times and despite the budget coinciding with the latest employment figures showing a record number of people in work he slammed George Osborne’s record as a chancellor saying:
“He’s missed all his targets on deficit reduction and on growth.
“As a result of that he has announced there is going to be a further 3.5 billion pounds worth of cuts up to 2020.
“It’s a gloomy future for local services and local government and an unwarranted and destructive squeeze on pubic services with huge amounts of money being lopped off personal independence payments for disabled people.”
Other controversial announcements included the governments intention to turn all secondary schools into academies and a range of measures designed to help businesses including a cut in business rates for small business. Critics argue a reduction the business rate could result in further cuts to local services as income to local authorities via the rates falls but Steve Brine said:
“We said there will be a reform to business rates announced in the budget today and we’ve done that.
“There are so many businesses in Winchester , small shops, small businesses that are being crippled by business rates so a reform is really important, that goes hand in hand with devolution that goes hand in hand with the retention of rates so local services.
“I’m sure services will be protected but its up to local councils to make those decisions.”
Celebrity ‘Naked Chef’ Jamie Oliver who had been campaigning to have a tax on sugary drinks to counter soaring childhood obesity rates had been surprised to hear the announcement that a sugar tax on drinks will be introduced from 2018.
On hearing the news he immediately donned his crash helmet and rode his motorcycle straight to Westminster to celebrate.
Although he had strolled onto College Green unnoticed, reporters, excited to see a face from the telly that wasn’t a politician or another journalist, quickly surrounded him.
“No one likes tax” he said “but this is a tax for good, this is a tax that’s symbolic, that will have ripples across the world.
“I never expected this this morning. Well done Mr Osborne.”
George Osborne’ hailed his budget as a “budget for the next generation” but Alan Whitehead said:
“The only concern the chancellor had for the next generation was whether the next generation would be obese because of sugary drinks, but as far as to whether the next generation would have a world fit to live in, he was rather quiet about.”