North Devon MP Peter Heaton-Jones says he will fight for ‘welcome spending measures’ announced in today’s budget.

North Devon’s MP, has responded to the ‘welcome measures’ in today’s Budget.

Chancellor Philip Hammond unveiled his Budget this morning, promising to invest in technology, provide further funding for devolved authorities, business and the NHS and to continue restoring the public finances.

Peter Heaton-Jones said: “There are many welcome measures in this Budget. A big investment in the NHS. More money for teaching. Waiting time for Universal Credit cut. And a huge house-building programme, with stamp duty axed for first-time buyers.

“My challenge now is to ensure that North Devon gets its fair share.

The main announcements from today’s budget include setting aside £3million over the next two years for Brexit and abolishing stamp duty for first-time buyers on properties up to £300,000.

Mr Hammond also promised to invest £500mi8llion in technology including artificial intelligence and 5G.

Some £40 million will be made available to train maths teachers and the number of trained computer science teachers will be tripled to 12,000.

Speaking after the budget, Mr Heaton-Jones said: “On Universal Credit (UC), I am pleased that the seven-day waiting period for new claimants has been abolished.

“Also the advance payment has been increased to a full month and the time for repayments extended to a year. This is very good news, especially as UC is to be rolled out in full in North Devon next year.”

Mr Heaton-Jones also welcomed a new discount railcard for 26-30 year-olds, and the cancellation of planned fuel duty rises.

He added: “The NHS is getting an additional £10billion investment for future capital spending, and an extra £2.8 billion to help immediate services.

“Now that the clinical case to retain acute departments at North Devon District Hospital has been proven, I will fight to ensure we get our share of this extra money so those services can be fully delivered.

“As the Chancellor said, this is a balanced budget: fiscally responsible but providing a big boost where it’s needed.

“But we mustn’t be complacent. I will keep fighting to make sure North Devon gets its fair share of the very welcome spending measures in this Budget.”

But North Devon Council’s shadow leader, Lib Dem Brian Greenslade, said the Chancellor’s Budget statement does not bring enough relief to low paid workers and those in receipt of social wages.

He said: “Working people in low paid areas like North Devon, who are being impacted by rising prices, and those who depend on social wages,are not going to find the pressures on their family budgets relieved to any great extent by this budget.

“The extra money for the NHS, while welcome, will also not bridge the gap in funding the health service is reeling from.

“That there is no help to give nurse’s a pay rise is an insult to these dedicated people. Schools who are already demoralised by the recent poor announcement of the schools funding formula have had their needs totally ignored.

“Day-by-day we hear stories of how blue light services - ambulance, fire, police - are having to tighten their belts and as a result not able to respond to public needs as well as they and the public would like to see.

“The blue light services provide care and security and up front help to the public they deserve better than this.”