THE head of the region’s electricity giant has said the Government’s spending review “leaves us with more questions than answers.”

The comments come from Peter Emery, chief executive officer at Electricity North West, who called on the chancellor to accelerate the new strategies on “industrial decarbonisation” as the Government battles against the largest peace time economic contraction in 300 years because of Covid-19.

On Wednesday chancellor Rishi Sunak outlined new plans for Government spending in the face of the largest contraction in the nation’s economy – it is forecast to be 11.3 per cent smaller by the end of the year.

Addressing the House of Commons, Rishi Sunak declared that the UK’s “health emergency is not over,” and that its “economic emergency has only just begun.”

Mr Emery said: “The Government’s Infrastructure Strategy contains more evidence of its commitment to a green recovery – but it still leaves us with more questions than answers, time is precious.

“We welcome creation of the Infrastructure Bank, the £1.3bn announced for electric vehicle charging and the £92m to boost tree-planting and biodiversity, all of which will be needed for the North West to hit its net zero carbon targets.

“But we urge the Prime Minister to use the new skills he says his government have developed during Covid-19 to accelerate the new strategies we are told we need on industrial decarbonisation, sustainable transport, tree planting and peat, so that we can move away from talking about these issues and onto doing something about them.

“We are already investing £63.5m in the network through our Leading the North West to Zero Carbon plan, and why work is already under way on key strategic projects.

Elsewhere in Cumbria the chancellor also got a mixed reaction from business leaders and politicians.

MP for Penrith and the Border, Dr Neil Hudson, described it as a “comprehensive package” to help the whole UK recover.

Chief executive of the Cumbria Chamber of Commerce, Rob Johnston said: “The Restart Programme should help to re-skill workers that will be needed in the recovery.

“That’s especially because our working-age population is shrinking and some sectors of our economy have become dependent on EU migrant workers who will be frozen out by the new points-based immigration system.”

Paul Williams, chairman of the Cumbria Police Federation, said: “We are utterly disgusted by the chancellor’s view that after the work we have done, a pay freeze cannot be justified.”