Showcasing the Best of Welsh Business

DEFAULT GROUP

Today’s Mini Budget: Regional Investment Zones and 100 Major Infrastructure Projects Across the UK

SHARE
,

The Chancellor will today promise “a new era for Britain” focused on driving economic growth and will be centred on regional investment Zones and over 100 major infrastructure.

Kwasi Kwarteng will announce The Growth Plan – a major package of over 30 measures to tackle high energy bills, drive down inflation and cut taxes to drive growth, while maintaining responsible public finances.

Igniting growth by lowering taxes and cutting regulation is this government’s central mission – it will encourage business investment, drive growth, create jobs, improve living standards for everyone and promote confidence in the UK economy.

Speaking about his priorities in his speech to the House of Commons, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Kwasi Kwarteng, is expected to say:

  • “Growth is not as high as it needs to be, which has made it harder to pay for public services, requiring taxes to rise.
  •  “This cycle of stagnation has led to the tax burden being forecast to reach the highest levels since the late 1940s.
  •  “We are determined to break that cycle. We need a new approach for a new era focused on growth.
  •  “That is how we will deliver higher wages, greater opportunities and sufficient revenue to fund our public services, now and into the future.
  •  “That is how we will compete successfully with dynamic economies around the world.
  •  “That is how we will turn the vicious cycle of stagnation into a virtuous cycle of growth.
  •  “We will be bold and unashamed in pursuing growth – even where that means taking difficult decisions.

Investment Zones

The Chancellor is expected to announce that the government is in discussion with 38 local and mayoral combined authority areas in England including West Midlands, Tees Valley, Somerset and Hull to set up new Investment Zones in specific sites within their area. These will be hubs for growth and are emblematic of the modern Britain that this government want to create.

The Government will work in partnership with Devolved Administrations and local partners in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to deliver similar Investment Zones.

Under a brand-new initiative, each Investment Zone will offer generous, targeted and time-limited tax cuts for businesses, backing them to increase productivity and create new jobs. This could encourage investment in new shopping centres, restaurants, apartments and offices – creating thriving new communities.

These areas will also benefit from further liberalised planning rules to release more land for housing and commercial development, and reforms to increase the speed of delivering development.

It will include reforms to environmental regulation and streamlined local and national planning policies, for example removing height restrictions on development, so that Investment Zones can bring forward more development – including housing and commercial sites – at the pace needed to boost growth.

Time-consuming negotiations between councils and developers for each project over affordable housing contributions will be scrapped. This will be replaced with a set percentage of affordable homes, whilst ensuring communities get the infrastructure they want and need.

Investment Zones will only be established with support from local leaders.  The government will work closely with areas to develop tailored proposals that support their ambitions and deliver benefits for local residents.

Infrastructure

The Chancellor will also set out an ambitious package of measures, including new legislation, to accelerate the delivery of around 100 major infrastructure projects across the country. The Growth Plan also sets out the infrastructure projects that the government will prioritise for acceleration, across transport, energy, and digital infrastructure.

In 2021 it took 65 per cent longer to get consent for major infrastructure projects than in 2012, with not a single new nuclear-power station finished since 1995.

The development, consultation and consent for a large road scheme takes an average of 5 to 7 seven years, while some offshore wind farms can take up to 13 years from development to deployment and other projects require 34,000 pages of documentation.

The Norfolk Vanguard wind farm, a 1.8GW-wind farm project located in the off the coast of Norfolk that will power almost 2 million homes, took almost 4 years to go through just the planning stages and faced a legal challenge over the visual impact of the scheme delaying the development consent by a further year.

The Junction 10A of the M20, an international route which is used by large volumes of heavy goods and holiday traffic, took seven and a half years from the review of the preferred scheme to be granted planning permission due to delays in the planning system.

The Chancellor will set out plans to reverse this trend speeding up projects including new roads and railways, by reducing the burden of environmental assessments in the consultation process and reforming habitats and species regulations, driving the UK’s economic growth.

Legislation will be brought forward in the coming months to address barriers to delivery by reducing unnecessary burdens to speed up the delivery of vital infrastructure.

These reforms are part of the government's effort to accelerate projects vital to securing our energy security, such as 6GW capacity of offshore wind power and support other nationally significant infrastructure such as Hinkley Point C and Sizewell C, A417 Air Balloon and Project Gigabit.