The Prime Minister this morning set out our ‘New Deal’, an ambitious economic strategy to rebuild Britain across the UK, putting jobs, skills and infrastructure investment at the heart of our economic recovery post-coronavirus, and delivering on our manifesto pledges to level up the entire country.
We will use the coronavirus pandemic to tackle this country’s great unresolved challenges of the last three decades which successive governments have ducked: to build the homes, to fix the NHS, to tackle the skills crisis, to mend the indefensible gap in opportunity and productivity and connectivity between the regions of the UK, and to unite and level up.
Too many parts of this country have felt left behind, neglected, unloved, as though someone had taken a strategic decision that their fate did not matter as much as the metropolis. Not only has a vision to change this country for the better, we have a mission to unite and level up – the mission on which we were elected last year. The Chancellor will provide an update on the economy next week.
If we deliver this plan together, then we will together build our way back to health. We will not just bounce back, we will bounce forward – stronger and better and more united than ever before.
SUPPORTING JOBS AND OUR ECONOMY
Recognising the crisis has driven job losses across the country, and many people are worried about their jobs and incomes, we have set our action to support jobs and skills.
Over the next five years, we will invest more than £600 billion pounds in our future prosperity, and today’s announcement brings forward £5 billion of capital investment projects, supporting jobs and the economic recovery across the country.
- An Opportunity Guarantee for young people, so that they can be assured they will have access to work or training. It is vital that we stop the economic impact of coronavirus from scarring the lives of the next generation irreparably. The Chancellor will set out further details on the scheme next week.
- New £1.5 billion this year for hospital maintenance, modernising the mental health estate, accelerating new hospital building projects, and expanding A&E capacity. This will improve patient care, make sure NHS hospitals can deliver world-leading services and reduce the risk of coronavirus infections.
- New £100 million this year for 29 projects in our road network to get Britain moving, from bridge repairs in Sandwell to boosting the quality of the A15 in the Humber region. Plus £10 million for development work to unblock the Manchester rail bottleneck, which will begin this year.
- New over £1 billion to fund the first 50 projects of a new, ten-year school rebuilding programme, starting from 2020-21. These projects will be confirmed in the Autumn, and construction on the first sites will begin from September 2021.
- Accelerating of existing programmes to repair and upgrade schools and FE colleges. This will be worth £560 million and £200 million respectively this year.
- Over £280 million to support and modernise our criminal justice system creating jobs; New £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, creating thousands of new jobs.
- New £900 million for a range of ‘shovel ready’ local growth projects in England over the course of this year and next, 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 – £1 million to spend on projects such as improvements to parks, high streets, and transport.
DELIVERING THE HOMES PEOPLE NEED
We have announced the most radical reforms to our planning system since the Second World War, making it easier to build better homes where people want to live.
New regulations will give greater freedom for buildings and land in our town centres to change use without planning permission and create new homes from the regeneration of vacant and redundant buildings.
- Kick-starting the construction industry and speed up rebuilding. New rules will mean existing commercial properties, including newly vacant shops, can be converted into residential housing more easily.
- Work will begin to look at how land owned by the government can be managed more effectively through a new ambitious cross-government strategy to look at how public sector land can be put to better use including new homes, contributing to net zero goals and injecting growth opportunities into communities across the country.
- Confirming a £12 billion affordable homes programme that will support up to 180,000 new affordable homes for ownership and rent over the next 8 years.
- A pilot of 1,500-unit ‘First Homes’ that will be sold to local first time buyers at a 30 per cent discount. These will remain in perpetuity, keeping them affordable for generations of families to own.
- Allocating funds from the £400 million Brownfield Land Fund. Today we have confirmed the allocation of funds to the West Midland, Greater Manchester, West Yorkshire, Liverpool City Region, Sheffield City Region, North of Tyne and Tees Valley to support around 24,000 homes.
- Expanding the Home Builders Fund to help smaller developers access finance for new housing. Developments will receive additional £450 million boost. This is expected to support delivery of around 7,200 new homes.
- Launching a planning Policy Paper in July setting out our plan for comprehensive reform of England’s seven-decade old planning system to introduce a new approach that works better for our modern economy and society.
- Bringing forward a Local Recovery White Paper later this year to support our recovery. We will detail how the UK government will work with communities across the county to build a sustainable economic recovery.
INVESTING IN OUR FUTURE PROSPERITY
Today’s announcement redoubles government’s efforts to get on with this now, in support of economic recovery and jobs right across the country.
- Publishing our 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.
- Bringing forward funding to accelerate infrastructure projects in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. We will work with the devolved administrations to identify where we can get spades in the ground, build our communities, and create jobs faster for citizens across the United Kingdom. We will carry out a review to look at how best to improve road, rail, air and sea links between our four nations to create a more connected kingdom.
- Protecting the UK’s natural infrastructure. We will reforest Britain by planting over 75,000 acres of trees every year by 2025, pledge £40 million to boost local conservation projects and create 3,000 jobs, including new Conservation Rangers, and safeguard a further 2,000. This will safeguard the UK’s natural carbon stores and wildlife habitats – our meadows, rivers, and local green spaces – which are central to capturing and removing CO2 from the atmosphere, protecting precious biodiversity, and connecting people with nature.