North East politicians have been reacting to the range of policies announced in the 2024 Spring Budget.

Jeremy Hunt headlined his speech as a "tax-cutting budget" with the major announcement being a 2p reduction in National Insurance.

He hopes the policy will save the average earner £450 a year, on top of his previous reduction in the autumn statement last year.

In big news for the North East, it was announced that there will be a £100m Trailblazer devolution deal. This will give new powers to the council leaders alongside the funding boost.

Darlington is also one of the towns to gain £20m funding for regeneration as part of the 'Long Term Plan for Towns' initiative.

Other major announcements included the scrapping of the non-dom tax status, more help with child benefits for parents earning more than £50,000 and cutting the top rate of capital gains tax on property sales.

Peter Gibson, Conservative MP for Darlington, said: "I’m delighted that Darlington has been awarded £20 million pounds to help further regenerate our town, which will really help to transform parts of our town and will complement the Town’s Fund work immensely.

"We can already see the great work being done locally to level up, and this further money just helps move us from great to brilliant”.

"This new funding adds to the over £1 billion of Government funding awarded to Darlington since 2019, where we have seen investment in Darlington Economic Campus, Railway Heritage Quarter, Darlington Train Station, Town’s Fund and more recently the Northern Link Road.

"This Conservative Government thinks Darlington is worth investment, and as Darlington’s MP, I’m delighted that our voice and vision continue to be heard loud and clear in Westminster." 

Reacting to today's Budget announcement, North East mayoral candidate Kim McGuinness said: "Today’s devolution deal is a big step forward for our region.

"After years of being behind Manchester and others we’re finally on an even footing. That’s down to our council leaders demanding a better deal from Government.

"But we can and we must go further and faster. We are ambitious in this region and we want to lead. 

"Too many decisions about the North are still taken in London.

People here want control of their own long-term decision-making, and that’s what I’m fighting for.

"We see the Government’s long-term failure to back the North East most clearly when it comes to Metro funding.

"There was no funding for Metro expansion and instead just two more years of short-term stop-gap funding. Can anyone getting on a Metro today honestly say that all our problems will be solved with just two years of one-off funding? We need real, long-term investment and we need to hand North East people the power to say where this funding goes.

"While the funding for Sunderland’s film studio is a welcome start, it is just that. A start. The initial bid needed £200m of investment, and we need firmer assurances that the rest of the funding will be available.

"Only a Labour Mayor working with a Labour Government gets us real devolution."

Tees Valley Mayor Ben Houchen praised the details of the investment zone in the Tees Valley being given the green light. It was revealed that it will focus on the digital and creative sectors.

TVCA said the Teesside zone could create more than 2,000 jobs and unlock £175m of investment in the next decade.

Lord Houchen said: "Teesside is a powerhouse on the country’s digital scene and we’re proud of the global leaders we have in the gaming and creative industries. 

"I’m delighted the Government has given us the green light on our Investment Zone to supercharge our digital and creative potential, and really put a fire under our ambitions.

"This is another massive boost which will bring thousands more jobs for local people and the knock-on benefits of injecting hundreds of millions of pounds into our economy."

Chris McEwan, Labour's candidate for Tees Valley Mayor, argued that £20m for Darlington doesn't go far enough after years of cuts.

He said: "As expected, very little for the Tees Valley in today’s outside of a pat on the back for his pal Lord Houchen. It is clear that 14 years of the Conservatives is just not working for people here.

"The £20million announced for Darlington goes nowhere near reversing the £46million pounds cut from the budget since the Tories came to power.

"We have a Mayor who can’t get the very basics right, and a Government who simply don’t seem to care. 14 years of the Tories have failed our local economy.

"The Budget has become a debate about how much headroom the Chancellor has, to manage divisions in the Conservative Party. Instead, we should be having a national debate about how we can kick-start our economy through stability, reform, and investment. That is what Labour is offering."

Alex Cunningham, Labour MP for Stockton North, argued that the announcements today don't fix the many issues people in his constituency are facing.

He said: "Today’s Budget offers nothing to tackle the problems facing people in Stockton who are straining under the weight of 14 years of Tory failure.

"Mortgages, bills and rent, coupled with the cost-of-living crisis in every other household bill have forced thousands in Stockton to drastically change the way they live.

"Over the last 14 years, Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council has seen its budget slashed, local schools have had to make difficult choices because of funding cuts and businesses across Stockton have folded because of a lack of support with the energy crisis from Government.

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"The Chancellor's announcement of a North East Trailblazer Deal is certainly interesting, but his caveat of "potentially up to £100 million" says a great deal.

"That sum doesn't even come close to recovering what the Tories have stripped from Stockton's budget alone over the last 14 years, so splitting this across the whole North East does little to assuage my doubts in the Tories' attitude towards the North East.

"The Chancellor doesn't have a clue about what real people need. For the people of Stockton, this budget should have had investment in local Government to improve our public services and ease the burden of Council Tax caused by Tory cuts; it should have had a real support package to help small businesses through the cost-of-living crisis; it should have increased funding for our schools; it should have had greater investment in green industries to support our future prosperity; it should have had funding for a new hospital here in Stockton and improved services at existing sites across the wider area."

Mary Kelly Foy, Labour MP for the City of Durham, said: "Politics is about choices, and the Conservatives have shown again today they are making the wrong ones.

"Take the Chancellor’s flagship policy, tinkering with the non-dom tax loophole to lower National Insurance by 2 points. Labour had proposed to abolish the non-dom tax status to pay for much-needed investment in our NHS, particularly in dentistry.

"A service in so much decay, that people in Durham are unable to get a dentist and are resorting to DIY dentistry. Yet the Chancellor did not even mention it.   

"Nor did he mention schools impacted by the RAAC crisis. In Durham, we’ve seen St Leonard’s crumble before our eyes. We've also had to fight for every penny of government support and still without assurances of funding being kept to pre-RAAC levels. I am outraged that the Secretary of State for Education has clearly made no representations to the Chancellor about this.

"Instead of making the investment that Durham needs, the Conservatives have prioritised a tax gimmick - one which shows they are a party that is out of touch and out of ideas.   

"A Labour Budget would deliver a long-term plan for growth to put more money in people’s pockets and to make them better off. Instead of salting the earth for a future Labour government, Rishi Sunak should grow a backbone and call a General Election now."