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Autumn Budget 2017: Devolution deal for North of Tyne; local growth; electric vehicle infrastructure

Words: Laura Edgar
Budget / iStock-184973453

Philip Hammond has announced a North of Tyne devolution deal in the Budget 2017, as well as support and cash for local growth.

According to the Budget 2017 document, the government has agreed a “minded to devolution deal with the North of Tyne authorities”. It will be subject to the consent of local partners.

The deal will see £600 million of investment delivered in the region over 30 years, with a mayor to be elected in 2019. The mayor will have a number of powers, including some over planning and skills.

The government has said it will invest £337 million in the Tyne & Wear Metro from the National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF), which was extended by Hammond in the Budget, to replace the rapid transit and light rail’s 40-year-old rolling stock with modern, energy-efficient trains.

Also, the Budget includes £5 million aimed at helping enable the South
Tees Development Corporation to take ownership of the SSI Redcar Steelworks site. The government says it will work with local partners to prepare the site for redevelopment.

The Budget document states that Greater Manchester and the government will develop a local industrial strategy, while £243 million from Transforming Cities Fund, initially announced on Monday and reiterated today, will go to the region. More discussions will take place with the Liverpool City Region and Tees Valley Combined Authority on further devolution.

The government has agreed a second devolution deal in principle with Andy Street, Mayor of the West Midlands Combined Authority, to address barriers to local productivity. This will see £6 million go towards establishing a housing delivery taskforce, £5 million for a construction skills training scheme and the £250 million allocation from the Transforming Cities, which Street has already said will go towards delivering the extension of the Midlands Metro.     

The government will pilot a manufacturing zone in the East Midlands. This will reduce planning restrictions to allow land to be used more productively, providing certainty for business investment, and boosting local productivity and growth.

Following the National Infrastructure Commission report on the Cambridge – Milton Keynes-Oxford corridor, the Budget sets out a programme of infrastructure and business investment. 

The Budget document notes that £5 million will go to developing proposals for Cambridge South station, and the government is starting a study on the enhancements needed to accommodate future rail growth across Cambridgeshire. Additionally, the government is set to make £300,000 available for a co-funded study of opportunities for new stations, services and routes across the Oxfordshire rail corridor.

The government said it expects authorities and delivery bodies in the Cambridge-Milton Keynes-Oxford corridor to use existing mechanisms of land value capture and the new powers (subject to consultation) announced at the Budget to capture rising land values from the additional public investment.

According to the Budget document, a Strategic Infrastructure Tariff will be introduced to sit alongside the Community Infrastructure Levy.

“These approaches will require developers to baseline their contributions towards infrastructure into the values they pay for land.”

Other local growth policies in the Budget include:

  • A new link road in Cornwall to improve access to the A391 near St Austell, with the government providing £79 million towards a new A30 link road.
  • £98 million towards a new bridge in Great Yarmouth to help alleviate congestion and stimulate growth in the enterprise zone.
  • A £12 million fund for combined authorities with elected mayors for 2018-19 and 2019-20, to boost capacity and resources.

Cleaner and green

The Budget document says the government will support the wider rollout of charging infrastructure for electric vehicles. It will invest £200 million, to be matched by private investment into a new £400 million Charging Investment Infrastructure Fund.

The government has also committed to electrifying 25 per cent of cars in central government department fleets by 2022.

Additionally, it will provide £100 million to guarantee continuation of the
Plug-In Car Grant to 2020 to help consumers with the cost of purchasing a new battery electric vehicle.

Hammond announced a £220 million Clean Air Fund. It will allow local authorities in England with the most challenging pollution problems to help individuals and businesses adapt as measures, including those outlined in the National Air Quality Plan, are implemented.

    The Budget 2017 document can be found on the UK Government website.

    * The measures outlined in this article are primarily related to England.

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