Stephen Church, EY’s North West Managing Partner and North Markets Leader, comments on what the Budget and Spending Review mean for levelling up the UK economy:
“Through the Budget, Spending Review and recent announcements, the UK Government has pledged real action on the levelling-up agenda.
“We welcome the £4.8bn Levelling Up Fund, which has identified the first 105 places to receive funding for local transport, cultural assets and regeneration, as well as the £2.6bn UK Shared Prosperity Fund, to support people in accessing new opportunities across the UK. This is crucial in order to help level up the economy, as the UK strives to tackle entrenched regional inequalities and close the skills gap.
“The £5.7bn investment announcement for London style transport settlements in Greater Manchester, the Liverpool City Region, Tees Valley, South Yorkshire, West Yorkshire, West Midlands and the West of England, have to potential to make a significant impact in these regions. The ‘Track 1’ status awarded to the first two carbon capture utilisation and storage (CCUS) developments in the UK also highlight the need for levelling up to be delivered in close conjunction with the UK’s green economic recovery.
“Despite all the positive announcements around transport, which are truly welcomed, HS2 and the Northern Powerhouse Rail were notably absent. Here’s hoping we see the fast-tracked action and further detail in the white paper later this year.”