DEVELOPMENT funding has been announced in the Autumn Budget to progress plans to re-open railway stations in Wellington and Cullompton. 

The Government's Autumn Budget and Spending Review was announced today in the House of Commons by Rishi Sunak. 

At the start of his speech, the chancellor said: "Employment is up, investment is growing, public services are improving, public finances are stabilising, and wages are rising."

Mr Sunak promised that his Budget will provide a "stronger economy for the British people."

However, shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves said families will perceive Mr Sunak as "living in a parallel universe" after the announcement.  

She added: "In the long history of this Parliament, never has a chancellor asked the British people to pay so much for so little." 

The full Budget and Spending Review document has revealed that the Government will continue "to spend £500 million to restore transport services lost in the Beeching cuts of the 1960s and improve local connectivity". 

This will include £5 million of development funding to re-open railway stations in Wellington, Somerset and Cullompton, Devon. 

Money will also be spent developing proposals to reinstate passenger services between Totton and Fawley in Hampshire and developing "thirteen early-stage proposals to restore rail connections across England and Wales". 

The document says: "These investments will help reconnect local communities and support regional growth." 

Somerset County Gazette: CHANCELLOR: Rishi Sunak leaving 11 Downing Street before delivering his Budget to the House of Commons (Image: Jacob King, PA Wire)CHANCELLOR: Rishi Sunak leaving 11 Downing Street before delivering his Budget to the House of Commons (Image: Jacob King, PA Wire)

The Devon and Somerset Metro Rail Group, co-chaired by Conservatives Rebecca Pow MP and Neil Parish MP, has been working to progress plans for train stations in Wellington and Cullompton.

Rebecca Pow MP, who represents Taunton Deane, said: "I am pleased that the Spending Review confirmed £5 million funding to progress proposals for rail stations for Wellington and Cullompton.

"This funding will allow the stakeholder group to progress to the development stage for the design of the two stations.

"These stations had already been fast tracked by the Department for Transport earlier this year and this next tranche of funding is an essential part of the journey. 

"I’ve worked hard to stress the urgency of this funding to HM Treasury, particularly as the rail station in Wellington will unlock other development which will help boost the local economy.

"The station is also an important part of our decarbonisation plan and the move to encourage people away from reliance on cars. 

"This investment also chimes well with the Government’s defining mission to unite and level up the whole of the UK, spreading opportunity equally, and the south west deserved its share of this levelling up funding - another point I stressed to the Chancellor and I am delighted he has listened."

Somerset County Gazette: STATION PROGRESS: Rebecca Pow MP, co-chair of the Devon and Somerset Metro Rail GroupSTATION PROGRESS: Rebecca Pow MP, co-chair of the Devon and Somerset Metro Rail Group

The funding announcement follows meetings Rebecca Pow MP and Neil Parish MP had with the Chancellor and Treasury officials in recent weeks to press the urgency of this case.

In total, the Budget document says there will be "over £35 billion of rail investment over the next three years".

This includes funding for High Speed Two (HS2), rail enhancements, and "vital renewals to boost connectivity across the country – focusing on the Midlands and the North".

The train station in Wellington first opened in 1843, but it closed in 1964 as part of the Beeching cuts that saw hundreds of stations close across the country. 

Cullompton's train station also closed in 1964. 

The 2021 Budget and Spending Review will also see £10.1 million invested to provide a package of improvements along the A38 corridor north of Bridgwater.

The A38 investment is one of six projects included in the first set of allocations from a £131 million south west Levelling Up Fund. 

Read more: LIVE: Chancellor Rishi Sunak delivers 2021 Budget to the House of Common​s