Budget 2020 Brief: South West
• This Budget delivers on our promise to level up every region and nation of the UK, and invest in communities across the country, generating the prosperity this country needs to invest in its public services.
• We are investing in infrastructure in towns and cities across the West Midlands, investing in its people and in its communities. This ranges from major investment in infrastructure, including £2.7 billion for major strategic road schemes over the next five years, to more funding for flood and coastal defences.
• Last year’s election gave a clear verdict, and now this People’s Government is delivering on the promises made to the British people, so that everyone can have the same chances opportunities in life and that no area is left behind.
Key regional statistics:
• Employment: There are 322,000 more people in employment in the South West since 2010, meaning more families with the security of a regular wage.
• Unemployment: The level of unemployment in the South West has fallen by 49.3 per cent since 2010, faster than the UK average. The South West has the highest employment rate of all UK regions (80.1 per cent).
• Tax cuts: We are cutting taxes for 2.5 million people in the South West this year, helping people to keep more of their own money – and lifting 104,000 people out of paying Class 1 and Class 4 NICs altogether.
• National Living Wage: There are 166,000 people in the South West having a pay rise in 2020 thanks to our increase to the National Living Wage, helping to boost the pay of the lowest paid.
Budget announcements for the South West include:
Investing in transport…
• Creating a £4.2 billion Local Public Transport Fund for combined authority areas to dramatically improve bus and train services in their areas. We will grant £4.2 billion devolved capital funding to the eight combined authority areas, allowing their elected leaders to invest in dramatically improving local train and bus services. Starting in 2022-23, we will provide a settlement for the West of England from this fund and build on their existing devolved Transforming Cities Fund allocation.
• Developing new strategic road schemes and upgrades in the South West. We will develop new road schemes, including the A303 Stonehenge, A417 Air Balloon and a Severn Resilience package around Bristol. We are also developing major road upgrades, including the A350 M4 Junction 17 in Wiltshire, the A39 Atlantic Highway in Cornwall, A38 Walton Ashcott Bypass in Somerset and the M5 Junction 9 and A46 in Gloucestershire.
• Investing in infrastructure to improve cycling and walking. We are providing £51 million for Plymouth, including £35 million for a new Central Park cycling and walking bridge, and £79 million for Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole, including funding for four cycle freeways.
• Providing £88 million of additional funding for local road maintenance through the Potholes Fund in 2020-21.
Investing in flood defences…
Ensuring the South West receives its share of funding for flood and coastal defences. The following locations will benefit from at least the following levels of funding: £114 million for Bridgwater, £34 million for Poole, and £1.4 million for Gloucester to better protect over 7,000 properties.
Delivering more homes…
• Providing funding from the Housing Infrastructure Fund to deliver new homes in the region. We will provide £219 million for the M5 J10 improvements scheme in Cheltenham to unlock up to 8,967 homes.
These build on the support we’ve already given the South West:
• Ensuring the South West benefits from a share of the £2.6 billion additional funding for schools in 2020-21. 182 secondary schools in the South West will see pre-pupil funding levels up to at least £5,000 next year and 604 primary schools will level up to at least £3,750 per pupil.
• Upgrading facilities and equipment in hospitals across the South West. Royal Cornwall Hospitals NHS Trust is receiving £99.9 million to build a new Women’s and Children’s Hospital in the centre of the Royal Cornwall Hospital site in Truro.
• Providing the South West with £900 million through the Local Growth Fund. To date, the South West has received £900 million to support projects that will boost the local economy.
Other Budget measures for hardworking families in the South West:
• Investing in further education, the arts and sports in schools to ensure everyone gets the best start. We will invest £1.5 billion over five years to refurbish further education colleges. The Budget also provides £29 million a year by 2023-24 to support primary school PE teaching, ensuring children are getting an active start to life and £90 million a year to introduce an Arts Premium to secondary schools in England – averaging out as £25,000 per secondary school for three years.
• Committing to a new £3 billion Skills Fund to ensure people gain the skills they need to get rewarding well-paid jobs. We will consult with people and employers on how to target the fund in the best way.
• Putting more money in peoples’ pockets with an over £200 tax cut for the typical family. We will increase the National Insurance threshold to £9,500 this April, benefiting 31 million people with a typical employee saving over £100 in 2020 – the first step to reaching our ambition to increase the threshold to £12,500.
• Increasing the National Living Wage to boost the wages of the lowest paid. The National Living Wage will increase by 6.2 per cent to £8.72 from April. The Budget commits to a new ambitious target for the National Living Wage to end low pay and extend this to workers aged 21 and over by 2024.
• Helping people to keep more of their hard-earned money by leaving full-time workers on the minimum wage £5,200 better off than in 2010. Thanks to our changes to the National Living Wage and National Insurance Threshold, someone working full time on the National Living Wage is £5,200 better off than in 2010. Our decision to freeze fuel duty for ten consecutive years has also saved the average car driver £1,200 – meaning an average worker could be up to £6,400 a year better off than in 2010.
• Axing the tampon tax now we have left the EU. We will reduce the cost of essential sanitary products for women in the UK, abolishing the tampon tax from 1 January 2021.
Freezing fuel duty for a tenth year in a row to help with the cost of living. We will freeze fuel duty for the tenth year in a row saving the average car driver a cumulative £1,200 compared to Labour’s plan.
• Freezing duty rates on beer, spirits, wine and cider helping with the cost of living. This will be only the second time in almost 20 years a government has frozen all these duties.
• Creating an entitlement to Neonatal Leave and Pay to support parents with the stress and anxiety of having a baby in neonatal care. For employees whose babies spend an extended period of time in neonatal care we will provide up to 12 weeks paid leave.
• Setting out an ambitious package to build quality homes this country needs. The Budget announces £9.5 billion for the Affordable Homes Programme helping to prevent homelessness and help people to get on the housing ladder and taking the total funding to £12.2 billion from 2021-22. This will be the largest cash investment in affordable housing in a decade. We will also publish a White Paper on planning in line with our aim to support at least a million more homes
• Creating an additional £1 billion fund to remove unsafe cladding so residents feel safe and secure. Having taken expert advice, we will provide this additional funding for buildings above 18 meters to ensure people feel safe in their homes.