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BUDGET: Reaction in Cornwall

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2:47pm 21st March 2014
(Updated 2:47pm 21st March 2014)

Will a £200 million pothole fund announced in the budget be enough to help deal with Cornwall's road repairs?

Cornwall Council told Pirate FM the backlog stood at £204 million at the end of last year.

That was before the storms hit.

Local authorities will be able to bid for a share of the government cash.

Meantime, Cornish pubs are hoping a penny off a pint of beer will help in the fight to stave off more closures.

David Clilverd runs the Old School Bar and Kitchen in Mount Hawke: "It is very expensive to go out drinking that's why a lot of people drink at home at the moment so it all helps for people like myself to keep the prices as they are so people enjoy coming out at the weekend and having a few drinks.

"It's great. It's good for the customers and plus it's good for local businesses so they don't have to change the prices too much and hopefully it'll bring in more customers."

The Chancellor has also announced a freeze on fuel duty, tax breaks for bingo halls and a new pound coin.

You can get all the details, including how we will be able to earn £10,500 before paying tax and the scrapping of alcohol duty hikes, here.

Kim Conchie from Cornwall's Chamber of Commerce has been welcoming the news there will be cuts in business rates and help to take on apprentices: "I feel we're coming out of recession now and in Cornwall 98% of our economy is small businesses. So we want every small business person to feel confident and that there's a real positive future ahead of them.

"Young people coming into a business brings energy, enthusiasm, new ideas, vitality and this sort of thing. On the other hand they have to be trained and it's this training that is a cost to a small business."

Adrian Penter Regional Chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses in Cornwall voiced a note of caution though:

"I am concerned about a rather forgotten sector of the "doers", the really small businesses that are not on the growth radar, who don't have great chunks of money to invest, who are not the highly visible prospects but nevertheless need real practical intervention. In Cornwall there are many and they do much to underpin our economy, provide employment and a service to our rural communities.

"I welcome the measures for pubs and brewers and good news on fuel which helps everyone. Hopefully they will spend some of that £200m on repairing our rural roads. Help with childcare, help to buy homes and incentives for businesses to take on young apprentices are the kind of practical steps we need to see but the lack of more radical steps are disappointing."

There will also be VAT relief on fuel for air ambulances and inshore rescue boats. Paula Martin, Chief Executive of Cornwall Air Ambulance said:  "Today's Budget announcement that the government plans to relieve VAT on fuel for Air Ambulances is very welcome news.

"Cornwall Air Ambulance currently procures its fuel through its helicopter operator Bond Air Services and therefore does not presently have responsibility for recovery of VAT on fuel.

"Clearly, however, today's announcement is very positive news for us should we choose to buy our fuel direct in the future, and for many of our Air Ambulance colleagues throughout the UK who currently buy their fuel in this way, and have therefore been subject to VAT.

"Cornwall Air Ambulance has been a strong supporter of the campaign to relieve VAT on fuel for many years through our collaboration with other Air Ambulances through our national body, the Association of Air Ambulances.

"We have provided assistance with the petition to Downing Street and had a strong presence at last year's All Party Parliamentary Group on Air Ambulances, at which VAT on fuel was one of the key topics.

"We look forward to continuing to work with MPs - on both a local and national level - to seek further pledges and assurances in the future to help ensure we can provide the best possible service to our patients at the best possible value for our donors."

2:47pm 21st March 2014

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