Commenting on the announcements in the budget the Rt Revd Paul Butler, Bishop of Durham said:

“I am delighted to see the announcements in today’s budget of two significant investments in Job and prosperity for the North East namely the establishment of the Treasury Northern campus in Darlington and the creation of one of the nine English Freeport zones in Teesside. It would have been even better if we had been awarded 2 Freeports as was hoped!

“The North East has a long and rich heritage of rising to the challenge of new industries. The current operations in offshore and other renewable energy, subsea work and continuing activities in the automotive industry offer great opportunities. Now we can add government and trade link development. It is a very exciting time and I am thrilled that the North East will be their new home.

“Sadly this investment was not matched by the limited extension of the uplift in Universal Credit until September. Our most needy families and households really needed this to be for at least the next 12 months.

“The Chancellor does have a deeply unenviable job and deserves credit for many brave actions over the past year. I remain concerned that those in deepest need of support are not at the forefront of every decision being made.”

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