Last week, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak delivered his Budget and Spending Review.
I am delighted that it approved the Forest of Dean’s £20 million Levelling Up Fund bid, a huge achievement involving partnership working with the team at Hartpury University & College as well as Cinderford Town Council and the District Council, liaising with my office and I throughout. I’ve been pleased to do my bit to help bring this money in, personally meeting with Ministers including the Chancellor over many months to persuade them that this project is 100% worth the investment. I’m delighted it paid off.
It’s an ambitious, exciting project that will deliver a new leisure & community hub at Five Acres, Coleford; a new Innovation, Careers and Enterprise Learning Centre at Hartpury University & College as well as a regeneration of Cinderford Town Centre.
This is a real vote of confidence in the Forest of Dean. It’s what you get with me as your local MP who will stand up and loudly make our case in Westminster.
There was more good news from the Budget, with business rates cut by at least 50 per cent next year for 90 per cent of retail, hospitality and leisure businesses – and freezing all rates.
Any eligible business can claim a 50 per cent discount on their bills, up to a maximum of £110,000 per business. Next year’s planned increase in the business rates multiplier is also being cancelled – a tax cut itself worth £4.6 billion.
I was also pleased to meet with the Treasury in advance of the Budget to make the case for reforming alcohol duties to help Forest pubs, cidermakers, wineries and brewers.
I’m delighted the Government delivered, introducing a new Small Producer Relief so small cidermakers are incentivised to grow, cutting the price of English sparkling wine by as much as 64p, and cutting the tax on draught fruit ciders by 20%. All alcohol duties will be frozen for the third year in a row and pubs will be boosted by a new Draught Relief which will apply a new, lower rate of duty on draught beer and cider – cutting duty by 5 per cent. Cheers!