News story

A Budget that delivers on our plan for working people in the North West

At Summer Budget the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, set out the next stage of the government’s plan for the North West.

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Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne today used his Summer Budget to set out the next stage in delivering on the government’s plan for working people in the North West.

This Budget has delivered a tax cut for 3.1 million people in the North West, taken an additional 65,000 out of income tax all together, announced new opportunities for up to 500,000 apprentices and offers more childcare to working parents. Since 2010, there are 163,000 more people in work in the North West and 98,900 more businesses.

Putting transport and devolution at the heart of his plans to take the Northern Powerhouse to the next level, the Budget committed £30 million to turn Transport for the North into a statutory body, announced that three city regions are making progress on radical devolution deals and handed even more powers to the people of Greater Manchester.

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 210,000 people, and an income tax cut for millions more provides new support for people right across the North.

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 North West and sets out the next steps in building the Northern Powerhouse.

 Measures announced in the Budget will support working people with:

  • A tax cut for 3.1 million people in the North West thanks to a rise in the Personal Allowance and an increase in the higher rate threshold. 65,000 more people will be taken out of income tax altogether.
  • A significant pay rise for 210,000 working people across the North West 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 North West will now receive 30 hours of free childcare a week.
  • Thousands of family homes in the North West taken out of Inheritance Tax altogether as a result of the increase in the Inheritance Tax allowance.
  • New opportunities for up to 500,000 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 North West 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 10,000 businesses in the North West from a significant increase in the Annual Investment Allowance to £200,000.

 And it included specific announcements to directly support the North West:

  • Greater Manchester is to get further devolution including a new Greater Manchester Land Commission and Mayoral powers over fire services and planning.
  • £30 million for an ambitious new transport devolution package for the whole of the North which will give Transport for the North statutory status and responsibilities. As part of this investment the government is now committing to:
    • devolving far reaching powers over transport to the North’s Mayor-led city regions to deliver fully integrated public transport systems supported by contactless payment technology.
    • establishing TfN as a statutory body with statutory duties to set out its transport policies and investment priorities in a long-term transport strategy for the North.
    • appointing a Chair, Chief Executive and executive team for TfN by the end of 2015 to accelerate TfN’s work programme, with an update on the Northern Transport.
    • Working with TfN to advance the introduction of Oyster-style smart and integrated ticketing across bus, tram, metro and rail services throughout the region, making this on of the top priorities for TfN’s newly accelerated work programme.
    • working with TfN to push forward plans to transform east-west rail and road connections via TransNorth and options for a new TransPennine tunnel.
  • The Chancellor also announced £5.8m for the A66 Highways Maintenance Scheme in Bolton as part of a further round of the “pinchpoint” fund which addresses local congestion and bottlenecks and £3m for Tameside Metropolitan Borough Council to make structural improvements to walls around local roads.
  • The creation of four ‘Connected Health Cities’ across the North, assembling experts and technology to provide better care for patients by promoting innovation through using data. This builds on the £20m invested in Health North earlier this year and which will go live in Autumn 2015.
  • The government is looking at extending Mersey Gateway bridge toll discounts to residents of Chester West & Chester and Warrington, with final decisions to be made in early 2016. In addition, the government will work with relevant local partners carrying out a review of the tolls on Mersey Tunnels.
  • New Regius Professorships like that established in the University of Manchester 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.
  • The government is inviting bids for a new round of Enterprise Zones like those already up and running successfully in the North West such as at Manchester and Mersey Waters.
  • £90 million to extend the Coastal Communities Fund, from which the North West has already benefitted significantly.

Notes to editors

These measures build on investment and support for the North West already committed to by the previous Government and reaffirmed today, including:

  • The commitment to invest £4.5 billion in transport infrastructure in the North West over this Parliament.
  • By the end of this parliament, the government will have delivered, on the Northern and TransPennine Express routes, free wifi for passengers, an increase in capacity of more than one-third and 200 new services every single day and a modern fleet of new trains to replace the old and outdated Pacer trains.
  • By the end of this parliament the Northern Hub programme will also be complete – delivering significant improvements to rail journeys from as far as Newcastle and Hull in the East to Chester and Liverpool in the west.
  • Transforming road connections is also an important part of building a Northern Powerhouse – by the end of this parliament the government will have delivered four lane smart motorways on northern sections of the M1 and M6 and M62 around the north west of Manchester. The government will also have developed a scheme to extend four-lane smart motorway along the M62 route all the way from Leeds to Manchester. The M60 will also be upgraded to smart motorway.
  • The government is also exploring options for improving east-west connections on the A66 and A69, and exploring the potential for an entirely new road, the “TransPennine Tunnel”, between Manchester and Sheffield.
  • Key roads across the North-West will be upgraded, including the M6 and the M62. Alongside this the government is also committed to improving connections to international gateways, including the new A6 to Manchester Airport relief road, and improved road connections between Greater Manchester and Liverpool City Region as part of the Atlantic Gateway.
  • On top of this, the government remains absolutely committed to pushing forward with plans for delivering High Speed 2 (HS2) to the North by the early 2030s, which will deliver transformational step-changes in journey times, capacity and connectivity for cities across the region. The government will bring forward a Hybrid Bill for the first stage of Phase 2 in this parliament.
  • The government will support the North to develop the skills that it needs through development funding for a National Onshore Oil and Gas College with its centre in Blackpool.
  • The government will invest in supporting the science strengths of the North including funding the £235m Sir Henry Royce Institute.
Published 8 July 2015