Industrial Strategy and the regional economy
- £1.6bn new investment to support a Modern Industrial Strategy with a focus on science and innovation with £120 million for the Strength in Places Fund to support regional areas of R&D excellence across the UK. This funding extends the existing programme until 2021-22.
- Funding for 10 new University Enterprise Zones (UEZ): These are specific geographical areas where universities and business work together to increase local growth and innovation. Each UEZ will be supported by a partnership between a university and Local Enterprise Partnership.
- £115m for Digital Catapults in the North East and South East. In addition, the Office for AI and Government Digital Service (GDS) will review how government can use AI, automation and data in new ways to drive public sector productivity and wider economic benefits.
- £20 million to support local peer-to-peer networks focused on business improvement
- £10 million to generate proposals for new business-backed Development Corporations and similar delivery bodies
- £900m of business rates support for small businesses on the high street. All retailers in England with rateable values of £51,000 or less will have business rates bill cut by a third – saving business up to £8,000 annually.
- A freeze of the current VAT threshold for two years.
- The protection of the Employment Allowance which will now be focused on small employers to knock £3,000 off their National Insurance Bill.
- A new pilot scheme to fund training for the self-employed.
- £675m co-funding to create a future high street fund “for councils to transform their high streets”.
- Apprenticeship Levy contributions from small firms to be halved from 10 per cent to five per centas part of a “£695 million package to support apprenticeships”.
What does it mean for Hertfordshire?
Hertfordshire is not performing to its full potential in terms of its underlying productivity and our long-term, economic performance has not kept pace with other strong performing local economies in the South East of England, such as the home county areas around London. Within the county itself, there are marked local variations in rates of long-term economic growth. These measures, coupled with the Government’s renewed focus on enterprise and business support networks will help us to strengthen our focus on SME productivity.
- £28.8bn (2020-25) National Roads Fund for the new major roads network and large local major roadsschemes. Draft £25.3bn Roads Investment Strategy 2 (2020-25) for strategic roads, including Oxford-Cambridge Expressway and the Lower Thames Crossing. Alongside the Budget, Government responded to the National Infrastructure Commission’s report on the Cambridge – Milton Keynes – Oxford Arc. The Government supports the NIC’s ambition to deliver up to 1 million new homes in the Arc by 2050 to maximise sustainable economic growth and a new East West Rail company will be established to accelerate delivery of the central railway section between Cambridge and Bedford. The Government is providing afurther £20m to develop a strategic outline business case for the railway.
- Additional £420m available to local highway authorities to tackle pot holes and minor repairs.
- Establish a Centre of Excellence to manage current Private Finance Initiative contracts and abolish future PFIs.
- Crossrail 2– The government is considering the recommendations of the Independent Affordability Review of Crossrail 2, and will consider the case for the project at the Spending Review.
- New consultation on new permitted development rights to allow upwards extensions above commercial premises and residential properties, including blocks of flats, and to allow commercial buildings to be demolished and replaced with homes.
- Alongside the Budget, Sir Oliver Letwin’s review of the gap between housing completions and the amount of land allocated or permissioned has been published. It concludes that greater diversity in the types and tenuresof housing on large sites would increase market absorption rates of new homes – which it sees as the main constraint on build out rates on large sites. The Government will respond to the recommendations in February 2019.
- The Housing Infrastructure Fund will increase by £500m to a total £5.5bn nationally, unlocking up to 650,000 newhomes.
What does it mean for Hertfordshire?
- Increasing demand for residential units with supply not keeping pace with demand
- Buoyant residential market with long term increase in values
- Residential investment values outstripping those for commercial space
- Apprenticeship Levy contributions from small firms to be halved from 10% to 5% and up to £450 million available to enable levy paying employers to transfer up to 25% of their funds to pay for apprenticeship training in their supply chains.
- Up to £5 million to the Institute for Apprenticeships and National Apprenticeship Service in 2019-20, to identify gaps in the training provider market and increase the number of employer-designed apprenticeship standards available to employers.
- £100 million for the first phase of the National Retraining Scheme (NRS).
- £20 million of skills pilots.
- £38 million of capital funding to support implementation of the first threeT levels in 2020 across 52 providers.