Commenting on the Chancellor’s Spending Review today, Rohan Malik, EY’s Managing Partner for Government and Infrastructure said:
“As talk of COVID-19 vaccines gathers at pace, we turn to the task of economic recovery with increasing optimism and the timing of the Chancellor’s Spending Review is very welcome.
“While the suite of announcements and new initiatives revealed today set a strong foundation for future growth amidst disappointing long term economic forecasts, how they work together to galvanise output will be important.
“Businesses and business owners should be heartened by the direction of travel to reinvigorate the labour market through the Restart Jobs scheme and increased Living Wage, but the Levelling Up Fund also presents a real opportunity to target investment to areas of the country that are most acutely feeling the pinch of lockdown restrictions. How local areas harness the Levelling Up Fund will be as important as the £4 billion initiative itself. However, the real challenge will be to match-make the right investment with the right opportunity and, crucially, at the right time.
“The National Infrastructure Strategy and dedicated spending on housing, broadband, mobile connectivity, new roads, research and development also promises growth and investment opportunity right across the country and, if it follows a truly joined up approached, has the chance to turbocharge strategic investment through the Levelling Up agenda.
“News of the first UK Infrastructure Bank coming onstream in the North of England in Spring is further indication of the UK Government’s dedication to grow its presence across the UK, bringing policy makers to the heart of communities that will benefit from these ‘once in a generation’ investments.
“Arguably the biggest opportunity highlighted in the Chancellor’s Spending Review is the ambition to reset and rebuild with green initiatives at the heart of the programme. The Government’s ten point plan to create jobs and cut-carbon needs to be brought to life and supercharged with action, and we saw some of that coming through in many of today’s announcements.
“The combination of dedicated spend for the NHS estate and frontline services to tackle the impact of the pandemic, enhanced support for the labour market and economy-boosting infrastructure projects, all underpinned by the aspiration of trailblazing a global green industrial revolution, indicates cause for confidence in the UK’s journey to COVID-19 recovery against the backdrop of a difficult long term economic forecast.”