Autumn Statement 2016: What this means for UK Infrastructure
Our experts share their views on the 2016 Autumn Statement announced today.
Simon McCann, a lawyer specialising in construction, development and infrastructure at law firm Blake Morgan, said: “Following ‘Brexit means Brexit’, we now have ‘investment means investment’, although in this case, the Chancellor's intentions are somewhat more clear.
“The purpose of investing in high-value schemes, he said, was to tackle long-term weaknesses in the economy, in particularly productivity and the housing crisis. Productivity was the key theme Mr Hammond returned to several times, highlighting that the UK lags behind Germany and the US by 30 per cent, France by 20 per cent and (most tellingly) Italy by eight per cent.
“Overall, the thrust of the Autumn Statement is clearly to provide a fiscal stimulus to the economy, which is set for a period of slower growth and higher inflation.
“The creation of a £23bn National Productivity Investment Fund to invest in both research and development and ‘economically productive’ infrastructure such as road, rail, telecoms and housing is to be welcomed.
“Some £1.1bn is earmarked for English local transport networks, with a focus on smaller schemes aimed at alleviating local congestion.
“This is great news for areas of the south, including the long-awaited funding of the £25m Stubbington Bypass scheme to help businesses prosper on the south coast.
“A commitment was also given to support the Oxford-Cambridge growth corridor, to unlock the growth potential of the UK's two best-known universities, including support for rail and £27m for an expressway linking Oxford, Milton Keynes and Cambridge.
“The Chancellor highlighted that the major objection holding back housing development is often the impact on local infrastructure. Therefore he promised a £2.3 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund to tackle these issues and unlock the potential for up to 100,000 homes to be built.
“This is a step in the right direction, particularly in some regions of the south-east, where housing shortages, congestion and lack of infrastructure are key issues.”