Rosemary Du Rose reacts to the Chancellor’s spending review
Thursday 26 November 2020
We have seen first-hand the impact that COVID-19 has had on people’s lives and livelihoods. The communities of Redcar and Scarborough typify the areas the Government is advocating for through the ‘levelling up agenda’. Across Redcar we have seen the number of people claiming Universal Credit increase from 3.2% of the working age population to 6.3% over the last 12 months. More concerning is the growth in youth unemployment in which the region has historically exceeded national averages. Without the much-needed investment to support our young people there are genuine concerns of a lost generation and a failure to support them to reach their potential. The proposed Restart Scheme is a welcome intervention to prevent communities from slipping further behind and should help many people take the next steps towards work, providing essential skills and experiences to help them.
Scarborough has traditionally been one of the lowest wage economies in England and consequently we also welcome the increase to the national minimum wage; for many customers this will be an essential uplift to their income and whilst we acknowledge the review to Universal Credit will take place in January, we would urge the Government to consider how valuable a lifeline this top-up has been and to continue it beyond April.
Finally we welcome the announcement of a new Infrastructure Strategy and Infrastructure Bank; specifically regarding the growth of the green energy industry. We have previously advocated for investment in these new emerging technologies to help the attainment of carbon neutral targets and believe investment in these areas could be a huge benefit for the economic prosperity of our regions. We look forward to working with our partners and stakeholders to make our carbon reduction targets a reality in light of these announcements.