Budget 2021: Chancellor announces investment in affordable homes, skills and transport

In today’s Budget and Spending Review, Rishi Sunak has announced funding to build affordable homes, improve skills and wages, and level up transport.

An investment of £11.5bn is expected to help build up to 180,000 affordable homes, with 65% of funding for homes outside London.

The Budget and Spending Review will also build on the government’s Plan for Jobs, allocating over £6bn of funding for the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) over the next three years to help people earn more and gain skills.

Skills funding will increase by a total of £3.8bn over the parliament compared to 2019-20, quadrupling the number of places on Skills Bootcamps, expanding the offer of free Level 3 qualifications and launching the new Multiply scheme to improve numeracy skills across the UK for adults.

The government also confirmed the previously announced increase to the national Living Wage to £9.50 from April 2022, cutting the Universal Credit taper rate from 63p to 55p and increasing Universal Credit work allowances by £500 a year.

The Chancellor announced new measures to help high streets recover from the pandemic, with new temporary business rates relief for eligible retail, hospitality, and leisure properties in England and freezing of the business rates multiplier for a further year, meaning a tax cut worth £4.6bn over five years.

To deliver on levelling up commitments, the government announced £5.7bn for London-style transport settlements in English city regions over five years including Greater Manchester, Liverpool City Region and the West Midlands.

The Spending Review also confirmed £2.6 billion between 2020-2025 for a long-term pipeline of over 50 local roads upgrades, over £5 billion for local roads maintenance; and funding for buses, cycling and walking totalling more than £5 billion in England over the Parliament.

The allocation of the first round of the UK Levelling Up Fund was also announced, seeing £1.7bn of local investment, alongside the launch of the over £2.6bn Shared Prosperity Fund which focuses on funding programmes to help people into jobs and improve their lives.

On top of this, the first 21 projects will receive funding from the £150 million Community Ownership Fund, helping communities across the UK protect and take ownership of local community assets.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said: ‘Today’s Budget does not draw a line under Covid – we have challenging months ahead – and let me encourage everyone eligible to get their booster jabs as soon as possible. But today’s Budget does begin the work of preparing for a new economy post Covid – the Prime Minister’s economy of higher wages, higher skills, and rising productivity, of strong public services, vibrant communities and safer streets. An economy fit for a new age of optimism, where the only limit to our potential is the effort we are prepared to put in and the sacrifices we are prepared to make. That is the stronger economy of the future, and this Budget is the foundation.’

Photo by Nick Kane


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