Spring Statement 2019: Playing it safe as housing

 

Chancellor Philip Hammond announced his Spring Statement under a 'cloud of uncertainty' proven by the fact a pledge to provide a ‘full three-year spending review’ was dependent on a Brexit deal.

He was able to recommit to Northern Powerhouse Rail and said he looked for to Transport for the North's business case.

And following on from Mr Hammond's last Budget, which made a major push towards electric vehicles, the Government will launch a call for evidence on Offsetting Transport Emissions 'to explore consumer understanding of the emissions from their journeys and their options to offset them'.

The study will look into whether travel providers should be required to offer carbon offsets to their customers

Infrastructure and transport:

  • £717m from the £5.5bn Housing Infrastructure Fund to 'unlock up to 37,000 homes at sites including Old Oak Common in London, the Oxford-Cambridge Arc and Cheshire'
  • through the Affordable Homes Guarantee Scheme, the government will guarantee up to £3bn of borrowing by housing associations in England to support 30,000 new affordable homes
  • further progress on the Oxford-Cambridge Arc including £445m from the Housing Infrastructure Fund to unlock over 22,000 homes, and a joint declaration with local partners, affirming our shared vision for the Arc
  • up to £260m for the Borderlands Growth Deal

On Brexit he pointedly said the idea there was a 'simple fix' to the damage of a no deal was 'plain wrong'.

The Government will also launch a global review of the link between biodiversity and economic growth. This follows confirmation that the Government will mandate biodiversity net gain for development in England.

Alongside the Spending Review, he also confirmed the Government would publish an updated National Infrastructure Strategy.

Mr Hammond also confirmed that from June 2019, citizens of the US, Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Japan, Singapore and South Korea will be permitted to use e-gates at UK airports and at Eurostar terminals. This will significantly reduce queues and improve the flow of passengers and the overall experience at the UK border

Localis chief executive, Jonathan Werran, said: 'The statement was a useful exercise in setting out what unprotected areas of public spending might expect from the next three-year Spending Review before the summer recess - once the £34bn NHS funding boost has been priced in.

'Rebuilding a strong post-Brexit economy will require bolder and more inventive actions at local level to reconfigure and rebalance our political economy, as well as greater levels of local democratic leadership and accountability.

'To this end, greater fiscal freedoms and headroom to allow local areas to fund the investments they know are right for their places must accompany top-down financial mechanisms including, the Shared Prosperity Fund, and other sources that will replace the European Investment Bank and the PFI regime for delivering major capital projects.'

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