£8.8bn to fuel sustainable local transport networks

Jeremy Hunt kicked off his “Budget for growth” today by revealing a £63m investment to support public leisure centres with swimming pools.

£40m will go towards making pools more energy efficient, with £20m allocated to helping centres deal with rising costs. Labour leader Keir Starmer joked after Hunt’s budget speech ended that he looks forward to promoting the swimming pool policy and “at least he (Hunt) won’t have to borrow one of them.”

Hunt announced a second round of the City Region Sustainable Transport Settlements, allocating £8.8bn over the next five year funding period. He said the aim is to develop mass sustainable transit networks and transport options.

More than £400m is being made available to regenerate 20 places across England, creating further Levelling Up Partnerships. Areas set to benefit include Redcar and Cleveland, Blackburn, Oldham, Rochdale, Mansfield, South Tyneside, and Bassetlaw.

The third round of the Levelling Up Fund has been confirmed, with £1bn of support offered to local communities to invest in infrastructure projects.

Jeremy Hunt told the Commons he will also invest £200m in local regeneration projects across England. He named Tipton town centre and the Marsden New Mills redevelopment scheme as examples set to receive funding.

A further £161m for regeneration projects in Mayoral Combined Authorities and the Greater London Authority has also been revealed.

£200m has been added to a £500m fund to combat potholes in an effort to lower vehicle maintenance costs and safeguard the road network for the future.

Hunt also confirmed investments that will be made across Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

He said: “For Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland this Budget delivers not only a new investment zone but an additional £320m for the Scottish Government, £180m for the Welsh Government and £130m for the Northern Ireland Executive as a result of Barnett consequentials.

“On top of which in Scotland, I can announce up to £8.6m of targeted funding for the Edinburgh Festivals as well as £1.5m funding to repair the Cloddach Bridge.

“I will provide £20m of funding for the Welsh Government to restore the Holyhead Breakwater and, in Northern Ireland, I am allocating up to £3m to extend the Tackling Paramilitarism Programme and up to £40m to extend further and higher education participation.”

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