Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

North-East Is Forgotten but Budget Has Boost for Social Care; JUST ONE MENTION OF NORTHERN POWERHOUSE AS CHANCELLOR HITS THE SELF-EMPLOYED

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

North-East Is Forgotten but Budget Has Boost for Social Care; JUST ONE MENTION OF NORTHERN POWERHOUSE AS CHANCELLOR HITS THE SELF-EMPLOYED

Article excerpt

Byline: MIKE BROWN mike.brown@trinitymirror.com @MIKEBROWNGAZ

THE Budget saw no mention of Teesside, the North-east - and only one of the Northern Powerhouse.

Chancellor Philip Hammond delivered his first Budget yesterday, which was light on any details for plans for the region.

It was delivered as fears were expressed over the future of Teesside Tom Blenkinsop regeneration plans after the sacking of Lord Heseltine, a key Government adviser.

Mr Hammond hit almost 2.5 million self-employed people with a PS240 a year hike in National Insurance contributions - despite a Conservative manifesto promise there would not be a rise during this Parliament.

Labour MP Tom Blenkinsop, who represents Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland, called that decision a "betrayal".

He said: "It puts the burden on those taking risk and getting their own businesses off the ground.

MP "When I think of the self-employed in Teesside, like those running small business in Saltburn or those who set up their own businesses after losing their jobs in the SSI closure, I think of people taking risks and creating jobs for others. "They won't have planned for this change and it will just add to the pressure they're already under."

Mr Hammond also announced PS2bn for social care in England over three years and announced a PS435m package to ease the burden on firms facing huge hikes in business rates.

Councils are struggling to fund adult social care and all Teesside authorities are imposing a levy of 2-3% to help raise money.

Cllr Labour cabinet member for adult services at Redcar and Cleveland Council, Cllr David Walsh, said: "Whilst any extra funding is welcome and we will study to see how best we can access this, I do have to say that two billion - when it is finally divided between just under 160 English councils which have social care duties and functions - won't go a long way at a time when, due to a massive demographic bulge in the numbers of elderly, demand is at an unprecedented level. …

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