Flood defence work gets £700m Budget boost

Aaron Morby 10 months ago
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Chancellor George Osborne has pledged to pump £700m extra spending into boosting the country’s battered flood defences.

Chancellor maintains momentum for next wave of major projects
Chancellor releases vital kick-start funding to maintain momentum behind next wave of major projects

The extra cash will bring forward urgently needed schemes in the worst hit areas across Cumbria and Yorkshire.

In today’s Budget the Chancellor said he would find the cash from raising the standard rate of Insurance Premium Tax by just half a percentage point.

He said: “The urgent review already underway by the Environment Secretary and the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster will determine how the money is best spent.

“But we can get started now. I have had many representations from colleagues across the House.

“So we are giving the go ahead to the schemes for York, Leeds, Calder Valley, Carlisle and across Cumbria.”

Osborne has confirmed Government backing for the HS3 project between Leeds and Manchester and Crossrail 2 in London.

In hard cash terms, the Government will release £60m to develop plans to cut journey times to around 30 minutes between Leeds and Manchester, as well as improving transport connections between other cities in the north.

A further £80m will be released to fund development work for the Crossrail 2 link to connect south west and north east London.

The Chancellor said the Treasury was also brining forward £161m by two years to create a 4-lane M62, and will develop the case for a new tunnelled road from Manchester to Sheffield. In the North Pennines he also pledged to bring forward upgrades to the A66 and A69.

The government will also spend £50m on a world-leading centre for food and health research at Norwich, £2m refurbishing the Hall for Cornwall in Truro, and £5 million support to the Shakespeare North project to establish a new theatre in Knowsley.

“Across Britain this Budget invests in infrastructure – from a more resilient train line in the South West, to crossings at Ipswich and Lowestoft in the East – we are making our country stronger,” he added.

Further Budget infrastructure project details; Northern Power project start dates.

Budget 2016

Industry response

Mark Perkins, managing director at Wates-owned SES Engineering Services, said: “The next five years certainly looks bright for UK infrastructure, let’s hope that the reflected benefits of these developments are really felt in the wider economy and industry.”

Mark Cleverly, Head of Commercial Developers at Arcadis, said: “The outlook for population growth and prospects for development activity rippling out to the commuter towns and locations in the South East benefitting from Crossrail 2 now look very strong indeed, whereas the Northern Powerhouse cities of Manchester, Leeds potentially appear set for a golden period of regeneration.

“These infrastructure investments could pave the way for a re-balancing of the country and a 20 year renaissance in property development across the Midlands and the North.”

Dave Sheridan, Chief Executive of Keepmoat, said: “The reform to business tax, reduction of business rates and corporation tax will allow small businesses in our supply chain to grow quicker and become more stable, which will only help the housing sector in the long term. 

“The cut in capital gains tax may encourage landowners to sell their land to developers without fear of high tax rates, which could open up more opportunities for building much needed homes. “

Tony Kearns, operations director for rail at WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff, said: “This commitment to major railway investments nationwide gives the engineering sector the confidence to recruit in preparation and develop the skills the industry needs to deliver these ambitious schemes.

“We now need the education sector to play a role in encouraging more young people into engineering to help us produce more high quality rail engineers.”

Institution of Civil Engineers director general, Nick Baveystock, said: “While the headlines are focussed on important large projects, the upkeep of our existing infrastructure – from flood defences to local roads – should not be forgotten.

“We await details on any local authority cuts and the impact on maintenance budgets, and will continue to encourage a shift from reactive patch-up work towards a ‘whole life’ approach to infrastructure investment.”

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