Stephen Church, EY’s North West Managing Partner and North Markets Leader, comments on what the Budget means for the North West

28th October 2021, 9:39 am

“Through the Budget, Spending Review and recent announcements, the UK Government has pledged real action on the levelling up agenda across the UK, which is positively welcomed across the region.

“Here in the North West, the Levelling Up Fund has identified 12 places including Salford and Pendle, to benefit from over £232 million in local infrastructure improvements. Yet it is crucial that we continue to focus on our smaller towns and that levelling-up reaches all corners across the UK so, it was reassuring to see that Leigh, Marple and Clayton-le-Moors have been selected as projects within the Community Ownership Fund, with over £600,000 pledged investment.

“Further, the £5.7 bn announcement for London style transport settlements – of which £1bn and £710m will fund integrated transport system’s in Manchester and Liverpool respectively – and the early-stage proposals to reinstate passenger rail links between Ashton and Stockport; Middlewich and Gadbrook Park; and Buckley Wells and Rawtenstall, celebrate that true ‘levelling-up’ momentum is building.

“It is clear that levelling up must be delivered in close conjunction with the UK’s green economic recovery and across the North we are well placed to deliver this, with ‘Track 1’ status awarded to the first two carbon capture utilisation and storage (CCUS) developments in the North West and the North East.

“Despite all the positive announcements around transport, which are truly welcomed, HS2 and the Northern Powerhouse Rail were notably absent. Here’s hoping we see fast-tracked action and further detail in the white paper later this year.”

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