Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne today used his Summer Budget to set out the next stage in the government’s plan to support working people in the Midlands and build an Engine of Growth.
This Budget has delivered a tax cut for 4.5 million people in the Midlands, taken an additional 94,000 out of income tax all together, announced new opportunities for up to 640,000 apprentices and offers more childcare to working parents. Since 2010, there are over 267,000 more people in work in the Midlands and 80,000 more businesses.
Putting investment in transport, support for devolution and backing for enterprise, science and skills at the heart of plans to make the Midlands an Engine of Growth, the Budget also set out plans to help working people at every stage of their lives.
But there’s more to do. That’s why, alongside wide-ranging reforms to help working people at every stage of their lives, the Budget announces major new investments in infrastructure, enterprise, skills and education to help deliver more jobs and investment in the Midlands.
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said:
My budget today puts security first. It delivers economic security so Britain lives within its means, financial security for families, and national security for all.
A new National Living Wage for 330,000 people, and an income tax cut for millions more provides new support for people right across the Midlands.
At the heart of our plans is an ambition to build a world class transport system, to hand over new powers to local leaders and to invest in science, education and skills.
This is a Budget that delivers on our plan for working people in the Midlands and sets out the next steps in making it an Engine of Growth.
Measures announced in the Budget will support working people with:
- A tax cut for 4.5 million people in the Midlands with a rise in the Personal Allowance and an increase in the higher rate threshold. 94,000 more people will be taken out of income tax altogether.
- A significant pay rise for 330,000 working people across the Midlands with the introduction of the National Living Wage.
- A doubling of the amount of free childcare for working parents of three and four year olds – meaning thousands of families in the Midlands will now receive 30 hours of free childcare a week.
- Thousands of family homes in the Midlands taken out of Inheritance Tax altogether as a result of the increase in the Inheritance Tax allowance.
- New opportunities for up to 640,000 apprentices as part of ambitious plans to grow the number of apprentices across the country.
The Budget also backs businesses in the region with:
- A tax cut for businesses across the Midlands with a cut in the main rate of corporation tax to 19 per cent in 2017 and 18 per cent in 2018.
- An extra £1,000 for every business thanks to an increase in the Employment Allowance to £3,000.
- Further support for 16,000 businesses in the Midlands from a significant increase in the Annual Investment Allowance to £200,000.
The Summer Budget also includes announcements to directly support the Midlands:
- The government strongly supports the recent publication of a West Midlands prospectus for devolution, which sets out ambitious proposals for a strong and coherent West Midlands combined authority. The government is also pleased to have received two Combined Authority proposals from local authorities in the East Midlands.
- £5 million will be given to Midlands Connect to develop a new transport strategy for the region.
- Further extensions to the east and west of Birmingham New Street will be delivered over the next few years. And government will consider proposals when they have been developed further on extending the Metro even further in the future in support of the HS2 Growth Strategy to maximise the benefits of HS2 for the area.
- The New Stations Fund will be extended, with up to £20 million available for new projects. The fund will be used to support a local bid for new stations on the Robin Hood Line to Edwinton and Ollerton, subject to the business case.
- £3.5 million for a further round of the “pinchpoint” fund which will address local congestion and bottlenecks including £1.5 million for the A4123 Birmingham New Road/Shore Road junction to help unlock the development of housing on 6 sites in Wolverhampton.
- £23 million of investment in six Next Digital Economy Centres across the country including one in Nottingham.
- Working with LEPs, the Midlands Engine Growth Commission and emerging combined authorities to grow and support a regional approach to skills work across the Midlands, looking to agree a clear and detailed delivery plan in autumn 2015.
- Backing the extension of the Birmingham Enterprise Zone to support the government’s investment in HS2.
- Following a new partnership between the Birmingham and Solihull LEP and Jobcentre Plus to help local jobseekers to find good jobs, government is now creating a new Jobcentre Plus Employment Advisor role, working with schools and sixth-form colleges to go further. The programme will start in Birmingham before expanding to the wider Greater Birmingham and Solihull area and beyond.
- New Regius Professorships like the one established at the University of Warwick will be set up in order to recognise excellence in universities across the UK. The competition will be launched later this year, with a view to making awards to celebrate the Queen’s 90th birthday in 2016.
Notes to editors
These measures build on investment and support for the Midlands already committed to by the previous Government and reaffirmed today, including:
- A renewed commitment to deliver £5.2 billion of transport funding to the Midlands.
- The government will push ahead with HS2, and will upgrade the M42/M40 junction 6 near Birmingham Airport, allowing better movement of traffic on and off the A45, supporting better access to the airport and preparing capacity for the planned new HS2 interchange station.
- The M1 will be upgraded to Smart Motorway in the East Midlands as will the M5, M6 and M42 in the West Midlands. Junctions on the A38 in Derby will be replaced and there will be improvements on the A5 at Towcester, A52 in Nottingham and A46 in Coventry.
- In March, the government announced £60 million for a new Energy Research Accelerator, led by the universities of Aston, Birmingham, Leicester, Loughborough, Nottingham and Warwick in the Midlands, to strengthen our energy research in the UK. This will sit alongside the new Energy Systems Catapult, to be created in Birmingham which has already started a programme of work with DECC on smart systems and heat programmes at the University of Birmingham.