In a speech in the West Midlands on 30th June the Prime Minister announced a ‘New Deal’ for Britain. He set out an ambitious economic strategy which will put jobs, skills and infrastructure investment at the heart of our economic recovery post-coronavirus, and deliver on our manifesto pledges to level up the entire country.
The PM made clear that the government want to use our national recovery from the coronavirus to tackle this country’s great unresolved challenges of the last three decades: building homes, fixing the NHS, solving social care and tackling skills training, The New Deal will close the gap in opportunity, productivity and connectivity across different regions of the UK.
In particular, the Prime Minister has announced that the government will bring forward £5 billion of capital investment projects, supporting jobs and the economic recovery, including:
- £1.5 billion this year for hospital maintenance - to improve patient care, deliver world-leading services and reduce the risk of coronavirus infections.
- £100 million this year for 29 road network projects, in addition to £10 million for development work to unblock the Manchester rail bottleneck.
- Over £1 billion to fund the first 50 new, ten-year school rebuilding projects, starting from 2020-21.
- £560 million and £200 million for repairs and upgrades to schools and FE colleges respectively this year.
- £142 million for digital upgrades and maintenance to around 100 courts this year, £83 million for maintenance of prisons and youth offender facilities, and £60 million for temporary prison places.
- £900 million for a range of ‘shovel ready’ local growth projects in England, as well as £96 million to accelerate investment in town centres and high streets through the Towns Fund this year. This will provide all 101 towns selected for town deals with £500,000 - £1m to spend on projects such as improvements to parks, high streets, and transport.a
In addition, the government will establish a new Infrastructure Delivery Taskforce, named ‘Project Speed’. Led by the Chancellor, Project Speed will bring forward proposals to deliver government’s public investment projects more strategically and efficiently.
The government will also publish a National Infrastructure Strategy in the Autumn, which will set a clear direction on core economic infrastructure, including energy networks, road and rail, flood defences and waste.
A £40 million Green Recovery Challenge Fund will also bring forward funding to help charities and environmental organisations start work on projects across England to restore nature and tackle climate change. The fund will help conservation organisations and their suppliers create up to 3,000 jobs and safeguard up to 2,000 others in areas such as protecting species, finding nature-based solutions to tackling climate change, conservation rangers and connecting people with the outdoors.
More detail, including planning reforms and measures to achieve Net Zero by 2050 can be found here.