A Content Coms Spring Statement overview 2019
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond presented his Spring Statement to Parliament this afternoon. As predicted, he announced that the UK economy continues to grow, with wages increasing and unemployment at historic lows, providing a solid foundation on which to build Britain’s economic future. However, Mr Hammond used his speech to warn that a disorderly Brexit would deal a significant blow to economic activity in the short term.
Looking at the built environment, the Spring Statement also set out further announcements which will benefit the housing and clean growth sectors.
During the Autumn Budget 2017, the government announced a comprehensive package of new policies to raise housing supply by the end of this Parliament to its highest level since 1970. In his Spring Statement, the Chancellor set out further steps to deliver this ambition:
- Through the Affordable Homes Guarantee Scheme, the government will guarantee up to £3 billion of borrowing by housing associations in England to support delivery of around 30,000 affordable homes.
- In addition, £717 million from the £5.5 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund will unlock up to 37,000 homes at sites including Old Oak Common in London, the Oxford-Cambridge Arc (specifically Didcot and Cambridge) and Cheshire.
- The Government is committed to further progress on delivering growth in the Oxford-Cambridge Arc, setting aside £445 million from the Housing Infrastructure Fund to unlock over 22,000 homes.
- Up to £260 million will be made available for the Borderlands Growth Deal, which on top of the £102 million announced recently for Carlisle from the Housing Infrastructure Fund means up to £362 million UK Government funding will go into the area
Last year’s Autumn Budget set out how the government is accelerating the shift to a clean economy, building on the Industrial Strategy, Clean Growth Strategy, and 25 Year Environment Plan. The Spring Statement builds on this commitment with a series of announcements including:
- The Introduction of Future Homes Standard by 2025, so that new build homes are future-proofed with low carbon heating and world-leading levels of energy efficiency
- In order to explore ways to enhance the natural environment and deliver prosperity, the government will launch a global review into the Economics of Biodiversity
- To help smaller businesses reduce their energy bills and carbon emissions, the government is launching a call for evidence on a Business energy efficiency scheme to explore how it can support investment in energy efficiency measures.
- To ensure that wildlife isn’t compromised in delivering necessary infrastructure and housing, the government will mandate net gains for biodiversity on new developments in England to deliver an overall increase in biodiversity.
- To help meet climate targets, the government is to advance the decarbonisation of gas supplies by increasing the proportion of green gas in the grid, helping to reduce dependence on burning natural gas in homes and businesses.
During his statement, the Chancellor also welcomed the Furman review, an independent review of competition in the digital economy, which has found that tech giants have become increasingly dominant. The Chancellor announced that the government will respond later in the year to the review’s calls to update competition rules for the digital age in order to open the market up and increase choice and innovation for consumers. To facilitate this, he has already written to the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) asking them to carry out a market study of the digital advertising market as soon as is possible, one of the recommendations of the Furman Review.
Content Coms is one of the UK’s leading B2B communications consultancies specialising in the energy, environment and technology sectors. Keep up-to-date with the latest industry news and analysis here.