Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak, delivered his inaugural UK budget in the House of Commons On 11 March 2020.
After delaying the planned Autumn Budget in 2019, due to the General Election, this was one of the most anticipated budgets in recent history – especially for those working within the infrastructure and construction sectors.
Tracker reviews the latest government spending plans under the newly elected Conservative government below.
The first UK budget of a new decade has been announced.
Many suspected that the Chancellor would promise biggest spending plans on roads, housing and rail in generations, as the newly elected Prime Minister Boris Johnston, has promised an ‘infrastructure revolution’ during his time in Downing Street.
For now, the National Infrastructure Strategy has been delayed, but within the budget there were many prosperous investment plans for those working within the sector.
Infrastructure and Construction Highlights
Although Mr Sunak has only been in his role as Chancellor for less than a month, he asserted that “if the country needs it, we will build it.” Broadband, railway, roads and housing were all on the agenda.
The infrastructure and construction highlights have been highlighted below.
Roads and potholes
Mr Sunak thanked the Transport Secretary for his efforts during the budget announcement, after making “the biggest ever investment in strategic roads and motorway.”
During this section of the announcement, it was revealed that:
- £27 billion will be spent building and developing more than 4,000 miles of strategic and local roads in England between 2020-2025.
- A £5 billion pothole fund will be introduced, which is expected to fill in 50 million potholes. This equates to £500 million dedicated to filling potholes each year.
Broadband and connectivity in rural locations
During the Conservatives election campaign the party promised to “level up” broadband if they were elected into power.
Mr Sunak insisted that this was the “Budget of a Government that gets things done” and made a number of broadband commitments.
- £5 billion of funding dedicated to implementing gigabit-capable 4G broadband to far reaching and remote places in the UK, bridging infrastructure with digital transformation.
- Investing £510 million into the shared rural mobile phone network so that 4G coverage in the next five years will encompass 95% of the UK.
Exiting this years budget, the mood for builders is positive. To ensure that “people have affordable and safe housing”, Mr Sunuk has made a number of commitments.
- There will be a £10.9 billion increase in housing investment to support the building of at least 1 million homes by the end of this Parliament, and an average of 300,000 new homes a year by the mid-2020s.
- The Government is extending the Affordable Homes Programme with a new, multi-year settlement of £12.2 billion.
- £1 billion from the Housing Infrastructure Fund will be allocated to building nearly 70,000 new homes in high demand areas of the country.
- £1 billion for a ‘Grenfell fund’ will support the governments plans to remove dangerous cladding from tall buildings.
Greener initiatives and flooding
Mr Sunak also addressed the winter storms and flood damage that followed, He promised £200M for immediate repairs to local flood resilience.
We breakdown the spend for flooding and greener initiatives below.
- £2 billion of funding towards doubling flood defences over the next five years, which, it is hoped, will protect 300,000 properties.
- £500 million to support the roll-out of new rapid charging hubs for electric cars, ensuring that drivers are never more than 30 minutes from a charging station.
- £640 million to plant more than 40 million trees and restore 35,000 hectares of peatland over the next five years.
- Introduction of a plastic packaging tax to tackle plastic waste.
Long term infrastructure plans
These spending plans may not come as a surprise for those within this industry, as mentioned in Tracker’s latest Spotlight on Infrastructure and Utilities, some £600Bn of both private and public investment is expected to fund infrastructure development over the next ten years.
This massive investment across nearly 700 projects looking to improve UK roads and rail, hospitals and schools, utilities, energy and communications. Tracker’s Commercial Projects provides unique and comprehensively researched data that is exclusive to the Tracker business solution tool, such as planning permissions for such projects to support suppliers to engage early with buyers.
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Mar 12, 2020.