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County Councillor reacts to Autumn Statement

cllr gibson
Cllr Julie Gibson

“There will be tough times ahead for Lancashire businesses and residents”

County Cllr Julie Gibson, the Labour Group Shadow Cabinet Member for Economic Development has criticised that Chancellors Autumn Statement signalling that it will mean tough times ahead for Lancashire businesses and residents. Responding to the recent announcement Cllr Gibson argued it provided no hope or inspiration to an economy desperately in need of support and sustainability.

Cllr Gibson said: “Last week I called on the Chancellor to spare further cuts to local government. Despite calls from myself, the Lancashire Labour Group, and other leaders across Lancashire there was no hope for Councils in this budget. In fact, there was a surprising bombshell in that council tax will go up by £100.00 for a typical Band D property. But it will be left to Councils to impose this increase on already strapped households with bills expected to rise to 5%. This will not help working households and with the combined increases in energy, fuel and food there is the very real danger that many families will face further pressure on household budgets.”

She continued: “I also share the concerns raised by businesses, particularly those operating in the night time economy, that a squeeze on household incomes – which are predicted to fall by 7.1% over the next two years (figs from Office for Budget Responsibility) will have a disastrous impact on the sector. The value of the night time economy to Lancashire (including Blackpool) is estimated at £3.5 billion. But when times are tough and households have to cut back, spending on luxuries such as dining out is the first thing people cut back on. I’m very concerned at the effect that this will have on the sector which was slowly starting to recover from the effects of the pandemic, but risks seeing that growth stall.

Cllr Gibson said: “There is so much more the Chancellor could have done, he could have closed the tax loopholes but he chose not to. By contrast the Government’s decision to freeze income tax means many workers will end up paying more in income tax. The Chancellor said he has made £55billion of savings which will primarily be paid for by tax rises for working people and cuts in government and council spending. There is no plan for long-term economic growth, no support for those that need it the most, Lancashire’s residents and businesses will face tough times ahead.”

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