Bidwells' response to the autumn statement
Philip Hammond MP has delivered his first, and last, Autumn Statement. It was a Statement that was meant to herald a new era of infrastructure spending to facilitate new housing and improve productivity. Broadly it did, although the details are very thin on the ground.
Roads seem to be the big winner with £1.1bn identified for local transport infrastructure and a further £220m to ease congestion of the strategic road network. The only project specifically identified was the Oxford-Milton Keynes-Cambridge growth corridor, which was allocated £27m for the proposed expressway and £110m for the East-West Rail line western section. A further £2.3bn has been identified for a new Housing Infrastructure Fund to support projects such as roads (again) and water connections.
£1.4bn is identified to support new affordable houses and a further £1.7bn has been set aside for new homes on public sector land. Finally, £1.8bn is being provided to LEPs to fund local infrastructure.
Overall Bidwells welcome the measures set out in the Autumn Statement, which will help to unlock a significant amount of development land, particularly for housing. It is however frustrating that so little detail is available at this time on how, on what and when this investment will be spent. We look forward to the detail in the coming months, along with the Housing White Paper.
The recognition of the Oxford-Milton Keynes-Cambridge Growth Corridor is particularly welcome and is something that Bidwells has promoted for many years. This, in conjunction with the £2bn additional funds identified for R&D has the opportunity to make a real difference to the nation’s productivity gap.