MP welcomes positive Budget for region

There was much in Chancellor Rishi Sunak's well-crafted Budget which would benefit Dumfries and Galloway Constituency.

That was the verdict of local MP and Scottish Secretary Alister Jack after a massive post-Brexit investment package in the UK's future was announced to a packed House of Commons on Wednesday afternoon.

Mr Jack said: "The Chancellor clearly demonstrated he was determined to deliver for all of the United Kingdom including providing an additional £640 million to the Scottish Government.

"This extra money is on top of the additional £1.3 billion coming to Scotland from last September's funding round.

"Investing in infrastructure was a key element of the Budget and I believe the Scottish Government should spend part of that extra money on the south of Scotland.

"Holyrood Ministers should stop dragging their feet over roads like the A75 and A77 and acknowledge these routes' strategic importance.  At the very least, I would urge them to bring forward work on much-needed by-passes."

Mr Jack highlighted the Chancellor's £30 billion stimulus to help deal with the coronavirus outbreak and help offset the economic impact.

He said: "We appear to be in the relatively early stages of this outbreak and the UK Government are working round-the-clock to manage the situation.  

"It is also good to see how well all the governments across the UK are working together in trying to minimise the effect of this contagious virus."

Mr Jack welcomed the duty freeze on spirits, £10 million investment to decarbonise distilleries, a £1 million fund to promote Scottish food and drink exports, an increase in the national insurance payment threshold, ending the so-called 'tampon tax' and a multi-billion pound UK-wide investment to expand cutting edge high-speed broadband and mobile phone coverage to hard-to-reach rural areas.

Other positives locally were the extension of the vehicle fuel duty freeze for a 10th year; grants to encourage electric car purchase and more funding for rapid charging points. 

Ahead of the UN international climate summit at Glasgow in November, COP26, Mr Jack pointed out there was also a range of key Budget announcements aimed at reducing carbon emissions further.