What about an Eastern Powerhouse, Mr Osborne?

PUBLISHED: 09:38 19 March 2015 | UPDATED: 11:07 19 March 2015

George Osborne stands with his Treasury team outside 11 Downing Street, London. Photo: Jonathan Brady/PA.

George Osborne stands with his Treasury team outside 11 Downing Street, London. Photo: Jonathan Brady/PA.

A “Northern Powerhouse” was mentioned four times in the chancellor’s budget speech.

Spending powers have been devolved to Greater Manchester with money invested into tech and business clusters around the region in order to rebalance the national economy with growth outside of London.

The chancellor said: “Over the last year, the north grew faster than the south.

“We are seeing a truly national recovery.”

In addition, Greater Manchester will now be able to keep all of the additional growth in local business rates instead of them going to the national government.

The offer has been extended to Cambridge and other areas have been invited to apply.

Aside from the headline investment in the Lowestoft bridge crossing and Great Yarmouth flood defences, there weren’t spending commitments for the East of England.

Stefan Gurney, executive director at Norwich Business Improvement District (BID), said: “There’s no investment in the entire East.

“Mr Osborne talks about how important the Northern Powerhouse is but fails to invest enough in the rest of the country outside London.”

He added: “The chancellor should invest in areas that are doing well, not just reward failure by propping up areas that are not.”

Mark Pendlington, chairman of New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “The chancellor said that his door is open to support and rewarding those that come to him with good ideas for growth and enterprise. Be assured it is a door we are pushing at.”

Jeanette Thurtle, East Anglia development manager for the Federation of Small businesses said: “We welcome the opportunity for local authorities to benefit from the growth and success of local businesses by retaining additional business rates revenue raised locally. This should encourage local authorities to take steps to support their local businesses to grow and prosper.”

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