Press release

Budget 2015: what it means for the South West

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Budget 2015 confirms Long Term Economic Plan for the South West and sets out next steps to do more.

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The Chancellor has confirmed in Budget 2015 his Long Term Economic Plan for the South West to ensure that the region continues to play a significant role in a truly national recovery.

The new measures will help build on a 6-point plan announced by the Prime Minister and Chancellor in January in a speech made in Plymouth which put jobs, transport, tourism and the defence industry at its heart.

The plan aims to:

  1. increase the size of the regional economy by £6.4bn in real terms by 2030 - equivalent to over £1,000 per person

  2. create over 150,000 new jobs in the south-west

  3. deliver at least £7.2 billion of investment in transport in the South West and deliver a step change in digital connectivity

  4. support the tourism sector with the aim of increasing the number of annual overseas visits to the South West to 3 million by 2020, creating around 7,000 more jobs

  5. ensure the world class defence assets and cyber security industry of the south-west provide the maximum benefit to the local economy

  6. build on the South West’s existing reputation in life and agricultural sciences and boost science more broadly

As important next steps in the plan to build national prosperity, the Chancellor announced a number of new measures to create a new Enterprise Zone in Plymouth, boost digital connectivity, and bring forward flood protection in the South West, while outlining his Budget for 2015.

These include:

  • improving the digital connectivity of the region by rolling out the broadband voucher scheme to Bournemouth, Swindon, Gloucester, Exeter and Plymouth, offering grants to businesses who wish to get faster, better broadband as part of an existing £40m scheme

  • a new Enterprise Zone at Plymouth Dockyard will redevelop 35ha with investment from marine industry wishing to capitalise on the location and local expertise of the South West. This should bring over 200 jobs to the area

  • £11.6m will be brought forward to provide additional funding for the first four years of the flood and coastal erosion programme. This will enable 37 flood defence schemes to be delivered at least one year sooner than originally planned and three further schemes to be included in the programme

As the Chancellor has set out clearly, the only way for the UK’s recovery to be truly sustainable is for it to be truly national. While the challenge is significant, so is the prize ahead. By pursuing this plan, the Chancellor aims to achieve real outcomes for the people of the South West who, by the final quarter of 2014, had already seen almost as many people enter employment in since the Government took office as the entire population of Exeter.

Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne said:

The number of people claiming unemployment benefits in the South West has more than halved since the election and the south west has created 41,000 new jobs in the last year alone.

This Budget sets out our plan for a truly national recovery. When I came to Plymouth in January I put forward our long term economic plan for the South West, which aimed to create 150,000 new jobs, and deliver at least £7.2 billion of investment in transport.

Today’s Budget goes even further, with the announcement of a new rail franchise with new intercity express trains and greatly improved rail services; investment in broadband connectivity in urban centres such as Bournemouth, Gloucester, Exeter and Plymouth; fast tracking of flood defence schemes to protect homes and businesses; improvements in public transport around Bristol, and a new Enterprise Zone for Plymouth. I am also cutting cider duty to support our producers in the West Country.

Local people want improvements in infrastructure across the South West, and thanks to our long term economic plan we are able to make to deliver that investment, helping to create more jobs and growth throughout the region.

Published 19 March 2015