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Key Budget points affecting Cambridgeshire

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Funding for a Cambridge South station, the A428 and improving the Ely A10 junction were among the announcements for Cambridgeshire in today’s Budget.

Key Budget points affecting Cambridgeshire
Key Budget points affecting Cambridgeshire

There will also be money to mayors to create transport networks, universities and for further education colleges.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak, who was promoted to chancellor just four weeks ago after Sajid Javid quit the government, today unveiled a £30bn package to boost the economy and get the country through the coronavirus outbreak.

Of the £30bn in extra spending, £12bn will be specifically targeted at coronavirus measures, including at least £5bn for the NHS and £7bn for business and workers.

This is on top of other spending pledges that will amount to £18bn next year, and even more in following years.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said he welcomed many of the measures to “head off the impact” of coronavirus, but the extra money for the NHS was “too little, too late”.

Key points affecting Cambridgeshire:

Transport, infrastructure and housing

  • The government is investing £4.2 billion in the transport networks of eight city regions across England from 2022-23. Funding will be delivered through five-year, consolidated transport settlements agreed with central government and based on plans put forward by mayors. These settlements will be published once they have been agreed.
  • The Budget announces the second round of successful Major Road Network and Large Local Major schemes proceeding to the next stage of development. This includes: improving the Ely to Cambridge A10 Junction and funding for the A428.
  • There is also £500 million per year from 2020-21 to 2024-25 to help tackle potholes and to stop them from forming.

Housing investment

  • A new £400 million brownfield fund for pro-development councils and ambitious mayoral combined authorities with the aim of creating more homes by bringing more brownfield land into development.

Reducing vehicle pollution

  • The government will provide £500 million over the next five years for electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
  • The government will provide an additional £304 million to reduce nitrogen dioxide emissions.

Natural environment

  • Nature for Climate Fund – The government will invest £640 million in afforestation and peatland restoration in England, delivering more than a 600% increase in current tree planting rates.

The OxCam Arc

  • The government will, subject to planning consents, build a new rail station at Cambridge South.
  • The government is also going to examine and develop the case for up to four new Development Corporations in the OxCam Arc at Bedford, St Neots/Sandy, Cambourne and Cambridge, which includes plans to explore the case for a New Town at Cambridge.
  • New technologies and support for innovation
  • The government will increase investment in science, innovation and technology to £22billion by 2024-25.

Business rates

  • The government previously committed to introducing a £1,000 business rates discount for pubs with a rateable value below £100,000 in England for one year from 1 April 2020. To further support pubs, in response to Covid-19 the discount for pubs will be increased to £5,000.
  • The government has already announced that, for one year from April 1, 2020, the business rates retail discount for properties with a rateable value below £51,000 in England will increase from one third to 50 per cent and will be expanded to include cinemas and music venues. To support small businesses in response to Covid-19 the retail discount will be increased to 100 per cent and expanded to include hospitality and leisure businesses for 2021.
  • System of High Street business rates to be reviewed later this year
  • Firms eligible for small business rates relief will get £3,000 cash grant

Alcohol, tobacco and other duties

  • Duty rates on beer, spirits, wine and cider will be frozen.

Coronavirus and public services

  • £5bn emergency response fund to support the NHS and other public services in England
  • £500m hardship fund for councils in England to help the most vulnerable in their areas
  • Small firms will be able to access "business interruption" loans of up to £1.2m
  • £6bn in extra NHS funding over five years to pay for staff recruitment and start of hospital upgrades

Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner said: “This may have been a Budget read out by the Chancellor but it was clearly a Boris budget, big on promises, but with no real idea on how to deliver them.

“I welcome the emergency funding to tackle the coronovirus outbreak, but where is the investment to tackle the climate emergency? Britain needs a radical plan to get to net-zero not a Chancellor boasting of spending over £27bn on tarmac. It took him 40 minutes before he even mentioned his weak climate plans."

“The other big hole in today’s Budget is not addressing the social care crisis. Tough decisions are being put off to another day.

“Funding for Cambridge South and the A10 Ely junction are welcome but I want to see the detail in the proposed new Development Corporations in the OxCam Arc to ensure that democratic accountability is not lost.”

Stuart Wilkinson, EY’s head of tax in Cambridge, said: “The Chancellor’s announcement that he is set to increase R&D investment to £20bn, contributing 2.4% to GDP, is good news for the region’s universities and for the wealth of innovative businesses operating in the East of England.

“Regional connectivity also received a boost with the announcement of funding for a new railway station - Cambridge South - and investment in the A428, a major trunk road in the region.

“Nationally, the Chancellor in his speech quoted criticisms of the Entrepreneur’s Relief (ER), noting concerns that ER was only encouraging one in ten entrepreneurs to start up. However, the original aim of the relief was instead to encourage those successful entrepreneurs to stay in the UK and pay tax on their success, and then to reinvest and continue to contribute to the UK’s growth.

“Perhaps in light of this, the Chancellor chose to return the reliefs limit back to the £1m, the limit when it was introduced in 2008. This will be a help to many entrepreneurs but, in today’s environment, this may not be effective in seeking to retain the more successful. Those arguing for the limit to be made per investment, rather than per life, and hence to reinforce serial entrepreneurship, will be disappointed.

“The Chancellor will be hoping that removal of this allowance for the most successful will not encourage them to leave the UK thereby paying no tax, hence losing the 10% they would otherwise have paid and costing the Exchequer rather than filling the coffers.”

“However, the corporate tax rate, that was due to be reduced to 17 per cent on 1 April will be abandoned, remaining at 19 per cent. By the end of the fiscal period, this gives the Government £7.5bn of extra funds per annum to spend elsewhere.

“Many may be disappointed that the Chancellor hasn’t let the rate cut go forward for at least one year, given the challenges that will be faced in 2020-21 by businesses, be that from Covid-19, Brexit, oil price fluctuations or indeed share price fluctuations.”

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Government announces funding for Cambridge South station

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