Chancellor’s budget hailed as good news for Norfolk

Norwich's research park looks set to be one of the big winners in today's budget after chancellor George Osborne said it would share in a �100m pot to boost research and jobs.

In a speech lasting just more than an hour, Mr Osborne said that his budget would be based on 'sound money' which would set the country on the road to recovery, encourage enterprise, and support manufacturing and investment.

The chancellor said that the government would pursue four economic ambitions which he said would help put 'fuel in the tank of the British economy' and deliver growth to all parts of the country.

Motorists were also given some relief after the chancellor said that petrol duty would be cut by 1p from 6pm tonight and planned rises would be frozen for a year. A new fuel stabiliser would also be introduced and there would be a �250m fund to help first time buyers get on the housing ladder.

A shake-up in gift aid could also boost local charities, while the chancellor also moved to create 100,000 new work experience placments, boost apprenticeships and create new technical colleges.

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However Norfolk and Suffolk was not among the first wave of 10 areas in line to become one of 21 new enterprise zones, which will be set up in England's largest city area, although the chancellor said that he wanted local enterprise partnerships (Leps) to bid for the next wave of projects

South Norfolk MP Richard Bacon said: 'I am delighted that the work of the scientists at the Norwich Research Park has been recognised by the Government. The Park includes the John Innes Centre, one of the world's leading centres of excellence in biological sciences which by itself contributes over �170m a year to the UK economy.

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'Norwich Research Park's cutting edge work helps to secure Britain's place as a world-leader in scientific research, which is vital to our future economic success. This welcome investment will help the Research Park to realise its future plans and strengthen Norfolk's growing reputation as a dynamic county that can deliver the growth which the economy needs'.

Andy Wood, joint chairman of New Anglia LEP also welcomed the budget.

'The early indications are that George Osborne has delivered a pro business and pro enterprise budget today which I am sure will be welcomed across New Anglia,' Mr Wood said. 'The real test will be whether the measures announced today do make a real and lasting difference to the economy in Norfolk and Suffolk.'

North Norfolk MP Norman Lamb said the chancellor had delivered a reforming budget despite having 'very little to play with' and welcomed moves to increase the income tax threshold to more than �8,000 by next April.

'There is some very strong stuff there,' Mr Lamb said. 'Overall the combination of giving help to low and medium income families. The focus on growth is about creating a more educated workforce and looking to the longer term.'

Mr Osborne said the measures including cuts in corporation tax and merging income tax and national insurance would make Britain a place to do business and herald the 'march of the makers'.

'This is a budget for making things, not making things up,' Mr Osborne said.

For full budget analysis and reaction see tomorrow's newspapers.

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