Digital infrastructure in the spotlight for Hammond’s Budget
“We are building the foundations of a stronger, fairer, more global Britain,” said Chancellor Philip Hammond at the launch of his first, and last, Spring Budget.
One of these building blocks is infrastructure, and investing in it will enable the UK to close the productivity gap with other G7 countries he said.
“Investment in training, and investment in infrastructure, will start to close this gap and this government places addressing the UK’s productivity challenge at the very heart of its economic plan,” Hammond said.
The Government had already announced a £23bn investment in infrastructure in the Autumn Statement, and in this Budget, Hammond did not go too much further.
He focused on Northern infrastructure in this Budget, announcing £90m for the North and £23m for the Midlands from a £220m fund that plans to address “pinch-points” on the national road network, whilst a Midlands will be hearing more on “barriers to productivity” tomorrow at the launch of the Midlands Engine Strategy.
Hammond also launched a £690m competition for local authorities across England to tackle urban congestion and “get local transport networks moving again”.
In support of digital infrastructure, he announced £16m for a new 5G mobile technology hub, and £200m for local projects to leverage private sector investment in full-fibre broadband networks.