Budget for Gloucestershire

Last week’s Budget included a number of positive measures that will benefit people here in Gloucestershire. The Government froze beer, cider and fuel duty, secured fairer funding for our schools and halved the Severn Bridge Toll, putting the people of Gloucestershire first.

The Chancellor announced a cut to the Severn Bridge tolls, coming into force once the bridges are paid off in spring 2018 and they return to public control. It was announced in the Budget that the tolls will be halved, bringing the costs in line with the tolls at the Humber Bridge, and making them cheaper than the Dartford Crossing.  A consultation will also be undertaken on introducing ‘free-flow tolling’, a new system already in place in other parts of the country, such as the Dartford Crossing, which would see toll booths removed and tolls paid online or by phone. Thanks to the Chancellors announcement, crossing the Severn will soon be cheaper and quicker for the people of Gloucestershire and the South West.

Schools in Gloucestershire will receive much fairer funding than they did previously, thanks to a new, national funding system. A demographically comparable school in London could have received 50 per cent more than a school in Gloucestershire. The new system was included in the budget, and will ensure that every pupil in Gloucestershire receives the support and funding they need to reach their potential.

The Government also recognises the vital role the pub industry plays in local communities, supporting over 19,000 jobs nationally. Local breweries and distilleries such as Hillside Brewery and Severn Cider are important rural businesses that contribute significantly to the rural economy, and they will benefit from frozen beer and cider duty. In addition, the freeze in fuel duty will allow drivers to keep more of their money and not have it taken away at the pump – where prices are now 18 pence per litre lower than they would have been under Labour, meaning the average motorist saves around £10 each time they fill up their car.

This budget lays the groundwork for a brighter and more secure future for the people of Gloucestershire. The Severn Bridge Toll cut, fairer school funding and the freezing of beer, cider and fuel duty will all help ensure the economic security of the people of the Forest of Dean.