The CBI has laid down its top five asks of the new Chancellor ahead of next month’s planned Budget to help ‘kick start a decade of growth and investment’ in Cumbria.

In a submission ahead of the planned spring Budget next month, the organisation has demanded bold action on infrastructure, innovation, skills and devolved powers for the county.

The CBI wants improvements to the A66 and A69 delivered – two key routes from east to west – and for a cast iron guarantee HS2 is delivered in full to ‘unlock capacity and transport connections’ in the county.

It also called for a ‘high-end’ research hub to be created in Cumbria to ‘build on local strengths, develop low carbon zones and support innovation clusters’.

The hub would be key to establishing Cumbria as a national and international leader in innovation, the submission said.

It has also called for ‘real’ devolution for Cumbria and for a framework to be established that sets out clear guidelines to support the development of new deals and the criteria on which they will be assessed.

And it also wants a comprehensive review of the business rates system, which reduces bills for companies, to be completed by the end of the year, saying it currently ‘puts many parts of the UK economy at a competitive disadvantage’.

The CBI’s deputy regional director for Cumbria and the North East, Alistair Westwood, said: “At the start of this new decade, firms are feeling more optimistic and want to invest.

“We are urging the Government to put all UK regions, including Cumbria at the heart of the upcoming Budget. Our Budget requests will create jobs, growth and investment throughout the county.

“This historic Budget offers the chance to turn rising optimism into a surge in investment across the UK.

“Backed by a pro-enterprise Budget for skills, infrastructure and innovation, business can help kickstart a new decade of UK growth and job creation.

He added: “Trade policy will continue to matter, but with strong domestic policy, British firms are ready to invest and get Cumbria into the fast lane of global economies.”

There is speculation whether the Budget will go ahead as planned after Sajid Javid dramatically quit as Chancellor on Thursday, to be replaced shortly afterwards by Rishi Sunak.

Mr Javid had vowed that his first Budget – due to take place on March 11 – would bring a boost to ‘left behind’ parts of the UK.

He also promised an ‘infrastructure revolution’, indicating that up to £100 billion will be made available in the coming years to support ‘transformative’ projects.

It remains unclear if, should it still go ahead, there will be any dramatic changes to a Budget that has been under development for several months. And there has also been speculation that the new Chancellor may deliver a second Budget in the Autumn.

There has already been progress on some of the CBI’s demands.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson gave HS2 the go-ahead on Tuesday, pledging the project will be delivered in the North, with business leaders and politicians ramping up calls for the line to run through Cumbria and for a stop to be developed in Carlisle.

Meanwhile, a team of civil servants is due in Cumbria imminently to help councils thrash out a new local government structure and devolution deal.

Northern Powerhouse Minister Jake Berry has revealed his ambition for the long-running saga to be in place by May 2021.

A previous attempt to hand down powers over funding and decision making collapsed in 2016 after Cumbria’s councils failed to agree on a governance model.