In the Budget, new Chancellor Rishi Sunak pledged a range of measures to bring investment and development to the Midlands and Northern Powerhouse.
Rishi Sunak’s Budget speech highlighted the importance of closing the divide between the north and the south. He announced a raft of funding and measures dedicated to infrastructure and development projects across the Northern Powerhouse and Midlands.
In the Budget, Rishi Sunak stated: “We are also going to build better railways. With spades going into the ground for HS2, we remain committed to fund Manchester, Leeds and the Northern Powerhouse rail.”
Increased spending on infrastructure
The government announced it will spend over £600bn on rail, roads, housing and broadband by the middle of 2025. A large portion of this money will go towards improving rail networks, especially in the north and Midlands. The Midlands rail hub will receive £20m, and the north will see a significant boost as well.
Improving connectivity was a big part of the Budget. A further £4.2bn will fund London-style public transport in the north. Sunak pledged to build the Leeds and Manchester stretch of HS2, which is expected to bring investment and economic growth, boost the city’s property markets and bring more people to the area.
Specific city regions will also receive additional funding. This includes £40m for a new station at Cottam Parkway in Preston City Region on the Preston-Blackpool line. Additionally, the Treasury promised a five-year transport settlement for Greater Manchester and Liverpool City Region Combined Authorities. This will come in between 2022-23 and will fund a range of public transport, road and cycling improvements.
A “minded-to” agreement has also been reached for a £1.8bn devolution deal in West Yorkshire. The deal includes a five-year integrated transport settlement to develop a modern mass-transit system. This is in addition to the £317m Transforming Cities Fund to invest in public transport, walking and cycling.
This targeted spending for the Northern Powerhouse and Midlands Engine, away from London and the south-east, will improve infrastructure for residents and businesses, boost the appeal of the regions, and even lift the local housing markets.
Building more homes in high demand areas
In the Budget, Rishi Sunak made a further pledge to “get Britain building”. Money from the £1.1bn Housing Infrastructure Fund will help to build 70,000 homes in nine high demand areas. Through the fund, £191m will help unlock up to 14,742 homes in Manchester and South Lancaster.
As Manchester was recently named the best city in Europe for business in 2020/2021, more businesses and professionals are likely to move to the city. With seven local authorities in Greater Manchester already behind on their housing delivery targets, there is more room for growth in the city region as the population and demand for housing continues to rise.
Finally, in the West Yorkshire devolution deal, £3.2m will help fund development of housing across the region to add to the local housing stock and keep up with increasing demand.
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