BUDGET 2011: Chancellor hopes Cambridgeshire will get big boost from new investment

MAJOR investment into a Cambridge research campus and new electric trains on the East Coast line through Peterborough were among announcements made in today’s Budget.

Chancellor George Osborne had a raft of measures to boost the economy in Cambridgeshire but he insisted a key theme was to help families with the cost of living.

Major capital projects include

* Intercity Express Programme - the �4.5 billion Intercity Express Programme will see the building of a combination of around 100 electric trains and bi-mode intercity trains, which will run along East Coast Main Line stations such as Peterborough.

* Ipswich Fit for the 21st Century - �18.3 million for an integrated package of sustainable transport improvements in Ipswich, including improved bus facilities and walking and cycling routes

Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, said: “Today’s Budget sets out measures that will support strong and sustainable private sector growth, reform the economy and tax system and help people in the East of England to make ends meet in these difficult times.

“It takes affordable action to reduce fuel prices while raising the threshold at which people start paying tax, taking a further 260,000 people out of income tax altogether and reducing the tax paid by 25 million people by an average of �48.”

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The Chancellor announced measures to make the tax and benefit system fair and sustainable, he said, including:

* Increasing the personal allowance by �630 in April 2012 to �8,105. 2.35 million East of England taxpayers will gain by �48 a year in 2012-13, and 25,000 will be taken out of tax altogether.

* Funding for an additional 80,000 new work experience places for unemployed young people, ensuring that up to 100,000 places will be available over the next two years. An estimated 7,100 young people in the East of England could benefit.

* National roll-out of the New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) to support up to 40,000 unemployed people to start their own business. An estimated 2,900 unemployed people in the East of England could benefit from the NEA.

The Budget also revealed growth plans which aimed to:

* to create the most competitive tax system in the G20;

* to make the UK one of the best places in Europe to start, finance and grow a business

* to encourage investment and exports as a route to a more balanced economy; and

* to create a more educated workforce that is the most flexible in Europe.

The Chancellor also said specific measures to support growth in the East of England include:

* A 1 per cent cut in corporation tax from April 2011 to 26 per cent, falling to 23 per cent by 2014, with an increase in the bank levy from January 2012 to offset the benefit to banks.

* Introduction of 21 new Enterprise Zones based on our Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) areas, to encourage new investment in areas with untapped growth potential. Ten zones will be established through a competition, which all LEPs not already hosting a zone can take part in, including the 5 in the East of England.

* �100m additional funding in 2011-12 for science investment projects, including �70m for two research campuses in the East of England - Norwich Research Park (�26m) and Brabraham Research Campus in Cambridge (�44m).

* Government will fund nine new university-based Centres for Innovative Manufacturing by 2012 to help generate the new ideas that will fuel the growth of the manufacturing sector. One of the centres will be based at Cranfield University.

* Extension of the current small business rate relief holiday. Eligible businesses occupying properties with rateable values of up to �6,000 will pay no business rates for one year from 1 October 2011 and those with rateable values of up to �12,000 will receive significant reductions. 62% of properties in the East of England have a rateable value of up to �12,000 and could benefit from this measure.

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