Nicola has welcomed the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement, the first Budget announcement since Brexit, and in particular the creation of a £23 billion National Productivity Investment Fund. The Autumn Statement undoubtedly provides a huge boost for Oxfordshire’s economy.
The Government has committed £110 million funding for East West Rail and £27 million for the Oxford to Cambridge Expressway. This will connect the towns and cities of the ‘Brain Belt’ together and capitalise on recommendations of the National Infrastructure Commission’s report which recognises the need for essential improvements to the A34 around Oxford. The Chancellor envisages that this will become a ‘transformational tech-corridor, drawing on the world-class research strengths of our two best-known universities’.
Nicola is pleased that the Government is working to deliver on its commitment to provide much-needed housing. It has committed to a new £2.3 billion Housing Infrastructure Fund to create essential infrastructure for up to 100,000 new homes in areas of high demand. Further, there will be £1.4 billion invested to supply 40,000 affordable homes.
Ministers are also moving to ban upfront letting fees imposed by Letting Agents, to increase the National Living Wage to £7.50 per hour, making the tapering system for Universal Credit more generous, and investing £400 million in broadband infrastructure. Nicola is greatly encouraged by the commitment to science and research, as the Prime Minister has announced a £2 billion annual fund for Research & Development as well as a review of tax incentives to boost the technology industry.
The Chancellor has set out the economic backdrop to its mini-Budget, and been clear that we do face significant economic uncertainty as the UK leaves the European Union. Nicola has welcomed the news that the UK is due to be the fastest growing economy in the G7 this year, and sensible economic decisions mean that we are able to invest in vital services and infrastructure.
Nicola says: Five months to the day since the Brexit vote, this is the Autumn Statement that Oxford needed- delivering on the Government’s commitment to improve people’s life chances. I am determined to fight for our fair share of this major funding boost.
Against a backdrop of economic uncertainty I know locals will welcome the commitment to investing in the Oxford to Cambridge Expressway, which will provide essential improvements to the A34 we have been campaigning for, as well as more genuinely affordable housing where we need it most.
We must now push for an appropriate timescale for such important investments and I will continue to work with fellow Oxfordshire MPs, the Local Enterprise Partnership and our local authorities to ensure residents see these crucial infrastructure improvements as soon as possible.