Chancellor makes post-budget visit to Lancashire

Chancellor George Osborne has visited the BAE Systems Military Air and Information site at Warton where he outlined how the budget would benefit SMEs in the county and help them invest and grow.

During the visit he also backed BAE's announcement that they will grow their number of UK apprentices in training to 2,000 by 2018.

George Osborne said: "This budget offers a new contract for the country and offers a good deal for Lancashire.

"To businesses we say you're going to need to pay higher wages, but we're cutting your business taxes, to people, we're saying you're going to get a bigger pay check, but there's going to be less welfare, and for the country, we're saying there's going to be less spending, but we're going to live within our means and that will deliver economic security for people and more jobs.

"I think it's a budget that really gets behind business; we've cut business taxes and we've said to the smallest firms that we're going to help them with their national insurance bills so that, for example, if they employ four people on a full living wage, they're not going to have to pay any national insurance.

"And it backs those middle-sized businesses, which are such an important backbone to Lancashire, by saying we're going to help you really invest in the future. So there are lots of good things in there for business.

"As part of the contract for this country, some businesses will need to pay higher wages. If they're paying minimum wage at the moment, they'll have to pay the living wage, but, they're going to be paying a lot less tax and I think that's a good deal.

"I'm a massive supporter of the Northern Powerhouse and Lancashire's at the heart of that.

"If you look at the investment going in to the transport system here, in to skills and infrastructure, it's huge.

"Here I am at one of the greatest employers in Lancashire, BAE, who've announced they're going to be creating 2,000 new apprentices and that is a great investment in the young people of this area.

"It means we see more of what we want to see in Britain, which is highly-skilled, young people with great pay packets making a contribution to this country's future."

By Sam Parker