Last month’s Autumn Budget brought more money for the NHS, reduced stamp duty for young people and the continuation of the freeze on fuel duty.
On a regional front it brought even more. The Chancellor committed to investment in our housing, our infrastructure and our science and technological business community.
When delivering the Budget two weeks ago, Philip Hammond endorsed the National Infrastructure Commission’s recent report on the Cambridge, Milton Keynes, Oxford Corridor, signalling the intention to 'Create a dynamic new growth corridor for the 21st Century’.
The Report called for a clear joined-up plan on housing, jobs and infrastructure and the Autumn Budget backed the building of up to a million homes along the corridor by 2050, while completing the road and rail infrastructure to support them.
I welcomed this endorsement in last week’s Treasury Questions following the budget, and, in answer to my comments, the Chancellor reinforced that the Cambridge-Milton Keynes-Oxford Corridor has the potential to be a “globally significant growth corridor.”
This was not the only good news for our region. Through the Transforming Cities Fund, £74 million is to be given to the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority to invest in transport priorities in the region.
In addition to infrastructure, we are also set to benefit from the Government’s commitment to developing ‘a skilled and dynamic workforce’ for the future. As well as allocating funds to support T Levels (the equivalent of A levels with a focus on technology) and the upskilling of maths and computer science teaching, there will also be provision to establish a Tech Nation regional hub here in Cambridge.
The support outlined to enable established science and tech companies to continue to hire the international talent they need to compete globally, also benefits our dynamic region.
I very much welcome the opportunities this Budget affords our region. In addition to those measures outlined above that relate to our region, there were many more measures with wider national significance that will also benefit us. The changes to stamp duty for first time buyers, changes to the waiting time for universal credit and the extension of the young person’s railcard up to the age of 30 are just a few such measures.
The Autumn Budget supports us locally and nationally and the investment measures announced are great news for Cambridgeshire.