Following the Chancellor’s austerity Autumn Statement this afternoon, Metro Mayor Dan Norris said:

“West of England residents were already facing the biggest hit to incomes on record – now they face a recession while being forced to stump up with £55 billion of tax rises and cuts to public services to clean up the mess left by the last 12 disastrous years of broken promises and mistakes.

“This Autumn Statement was a chance for the Chancellor to take real action to support working families through the cost-of-living crisis – like delivering support to the 25,000 families in the West of England about to be hit with mega-high mortgage costs and spreading the burden by scrapping unfair tax loopholes like non-dom status. He fluffed his opportunity.

“I am pleased the Chancellor listened to my calls for an energy efficiency programme to complement our retrofitting programme here in the West, though the devil will always be in the detail. But why wasn’t this done sooner? We’ve needed a proper plan over the last decade, made more urgent as soon as Putin began his illegal war in Ukraine.

“I also welcome the additional cash to protect West of England consumers of heating oil who’ve really struggled this year – again something I’ve long called for – and the steps towards improved existing devolution details. Again, I await further details. Centring investment zones around the research excellence of our university sector could make sense, and could be a boon for our world-leading universities here in the West. But given the last iteration of investment zones lasted about 10 minutes, ministers can understand my heavy dose of caution in relation to this. Introducing a higher windfall tax is the right thing to do too: where Labour leads, the Conservatives inevitably follow.

“But the truth is this Autumn statement hammered home one really important point: the West of England literally cannot afford any more of this Conservative government. We have so much potential – we have the drive and imagination to do incredible things. But we have a government weighing down our great region – one that is out of ideas and out of excuses. We need a General Election, and a Labour Government, to give our region the greener, fairer future it deserves”.

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