The Budget - What Does It Mean For Devon?

29th March, 2011
Devon County Council?s economists have been analysing yesterday?s budget announcements by the Chancellor George Osborne, and looking at what the changes are likely to mean for the county.

Attention has been focused particularly on what the Chancellor would do with fuel duty as Devon people have to travel one third further than the national average to access services and jobs.

The immediate 1p reduction in fuel duty is therefore good news both for the county?s businesses and rural communities.

Councillor William Mumford, Cabinet Member for Economic Regeneration and Strategic Planning, said: ?We welcome the Chancellor?s measures that will help Devon?s economy. We need a more flexible approach to supporting small business, encouraging enterprise and the county?s growing renewables sector.

?Business growth is a priority for the Council, Local Enterprise Partnership proposals have been put before government and we will be seeking to become an Enterprise Action Zone, creating opportunities for entrepreneurship and economic development.?

For business, there are many proposals that will be welcomed in Devon?s largely rural economy. Tax incentives for research and development and investment activity along with the 1% cut in corporation tax will encourage business development in the Science Park and East Devon growth point.

The 15% increase in the availability of credit to small business will also be welcomed across the county as many of Devon?s businesses are small or micro-sized.

With the region aspiring to become a national centre of renewable energy growth and excellence, the development of the Green Investment Bank has also been watched with interest.

The increase of initial funding to ?3 billion rather than the original ?1billion is likely to assist new energy businesses start ups across the county and help existing companies expand.

Another particularly noteworthy item was water affordability. The news that the government has recognised the disproportionately high water bills faced by people across the South West and is to set aside money to reduce them, will again help family budgets.

Finally, the shared ownership scheme to help first time buyers and support the construction industry will be welcomed in Devon where the lack of affordable housing is a serious issue.