Autumn Budget – ‘The Manchester Bits’Wednesday, 31st October 2018
Guest blog by Christoper Peacock, Grayling Manchester
Grayling has produced an analysis of the Autumn Budget which can be found here for free. This is a really good summary which I recommend anyone to read who doesn’t want to spend hours trying to get their head around it all. But what is in it specifically for Manchester?
Here are the key bits:
1. Northern Powerhouse Rail
Transport for the North’s flagship plan to transform the rail network across the north has been given a further £37million to support its development. Manchester and Manchester Airport are key centres for Northern Powerhouse Rail, so this is a good sign that the government is leaning ever closer to supporting it once the outline business case is submitted to them later this year.
2. Northern Powerhouse Strategy
The government has announced that it will publish a refreshed Northern Powerhouse Strategy next year. No detail yet as when or what it will contain, so we need to lobby government now to get what we need out of it. Since Theresa May became Prime Minister, the commitment of the government towards the Northern Powerhouse has been questioned. Will this be their opportunity to finally put it to bed?
3. Transforming Cities Fund
The Greater Manchester Combined Authority will be receiving a further £69.5million as the Chancellor has decided to extend the Transforming Cities Fund by a year to 2022-23. The existing monies have been allocated to fund additional Metrolink trams and to help deliver Chris Boardman’s vision in his ‘Made to Move’ report to improve walking and cycling. It’ll be interesting to see where the Mayor sees this additional money could be spent.
4. Skills Pilot
The government will fund £20million of skills pilots in Greater Manchester. This will include:
· A new £3million pilot to help employers in Greater Manchester and surrounding areas to address local digital skills gaps through short training courses
· A £10million pilot in Greater Manchester, working with the Federation of Small Businesses to test what forms of government support are most effective in increasing training levels for the self-employed
· £7million match funding alongside employers to provide on-the-job training to young people not currently in employment, education or training in Greater Manchester, and to move them into sustainable career paths with employers
There is plenty of other ‘asks’ we had for our city and region that we didn’t get this week but compared to other areas we’ve certainly benefited more. Only the West Midlands received more from the Transforming Cities Fund and nowhere else has skills pilot funding.