Blog: What the Autumn Statement means for you
The Chancellor’s Autumn Statement held some very significant announcements for us here in Oxfordshire, with lots of exciting opportunities for businesses and homes across the county. In case you missed it, we recently sent out a newsletter which outlined the key points (read it here) and we look forward to more information from government in the New Year.
The most important announcements for us are around infrastructure, science and technology, housing, connectivity and transport. There are set to be some major investments in these areas which would help our local economy continue to grow and thrive.
Here’s an overview of the key announcements affecting Oxfordshire businesses:
The new £23 billion National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF) was one of the Chancellor’s key announcements of investment in infrastructure and innovation to ensure the UK’s economy is fit for the future. This will provide major additional spending in areas that are key to boosting productivity: transport, digital communications, research and development (R&D), and housing.
Science and Technology
The government has also committed to invest an additional £4.7 billion in research and development (R&D) over the next four years to drive economic growth. Oxfordshire’s strengths in this field are well-recognised and a number of organisations in the county could benefit greatly from this funding. The aim of the investment is to enhance productivity, recognised as an area in which the UK needs to improve, especially when compared with countries such as Germany, France and Italy.
£2.3 billion was allocated to housing infrastructure, which covers projects such as roads and water connections to support the construction of up to 100,000 new homes in England, and £1.4 billion for up to 40,000 new affordable homes, including some for shared ownership and affordable rent. There is great potential for Oxfordshire to benefit from this funding, and that will help us to overcome housing supply challenges and deliver affordable homes across the county.
£1 billion investment in full-fibre broadband and the trialling of 5G networks is welcome news for Oxfordshire workers and residents. This will enable the private sector to improve global connectivity by rolling out more full-fibre broadband over the next 5 years, and will also support trials of 5G mobile communications. From April 2017, the government will also provide 100% business rates relief for new full-fibre infrastructure for a 5-year period.
Rural businesses and homes across the county are also now set to benefit from access to superfast broadband, thanks to an announcement by the Culture Secretary just before Christmas.
We have the opportunity to be part of some pioneering initiatives supported by £100 million investment in testing infrastructure for driverless cars and £150 million to provide 550 new electric and hydrogen buses, reduce the emissions of 1,500 existing buses, and support taxis to become zero emission.
We have gone into more detail on each of these areas in our newsletter. If you’d like to subscribe, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org - just write ‘newsletter sign-up’ in the subject line and tell us your full name, and we’ll add you to our distribution list.
Nigel Tipple, Chief Executive