Autumn Budget 2021: how it affects Buckinghamshire

The Budget has implications for business support, skills, innovation, infrastructure, jobs, hard-hit sectors & Net Zero. Buckinghamshire LEP provide the analysis and insight.

You can read all of the headline announcements that affect businesses below.

You can read Buckinghamshire LEP’s summary of the Autumn Budget and Spending Review here.

While reading the summary, you can get an early look at the brand new Buckinghamshire Economic Intelligence Observatory, which will have its official launch at the Buckinghamshire LEP AGM on 10th November. The Observatory has been established to improve evidence-based economic policy decision making within Buckinghamshire.

It’s four key objectives are:

  • To have one single ‘go-to’ source of up-to-date economic evidence for the county.
  • To make economic data and intelligence easy to access and interpret.
  • To increase the amount of local economic data and intelligence that is made publicly available. 
  • To increase collaboration amongst socio-economic research professionals within Buckinghamshire.

The new website - www.buckseconomy.co.uk - contains all the latest local economic data and intelligence, presented in a variety of forms. In the new year, the next phase of the project will involve establishing a network of socio-economic research professionals across the county to share expertise and take forward collaborative projects. If you are interested in becoming part of the network, or have research you’d like to share with a wider audience via the Observatory, please contact Caroline Hargrave: caroline.hargrave@buckslep.co.uk

Headline announcements from the Budget and Spending Review

Business support

  • Business rate reforms, including: 
    • More frequent valuations
    • Temporary 50% cut in business rates for retail and hospitality properties
    • Freezing the business rates multiplier in 2022-23
    • From 2023, new business rates relief will support investment in property improvements
    • From 2023, exemptions for eligible plant and machinery used in onsite renewable energy generation and storage
    • A new 100% relief for eligible heat networks, to support the decarbonisation of buildings
  • A £1.4 billion Global Britain Investment Fund aimed at spreading economic opportunities more evenly across the UK by supporting investment in the UK’s life sciences, offshore wind and automotive (EV) manufacturing sectors.
  • Funding announced for the British Business Bank to provide debt and equity finance outside of London and the South East. 
  • Continued funding for the Start Up Loans Scheme, which provides loans and mentoring to people across the UK who want to start a business.
  • Continued funding for the Help to Grow schemes, which aim to provide world-class management training and support for digital adoption to over 100,000 SMEs. 
  • Continued funding for the Made Smarter adoption programme, to boost the productivity of manufacturing SMEs through the use of advanced digital technologies.
  • Extension of the temporary £1 million level of the Annual Investment Allowance to 31st March 2023.

Innovation

  • Increase to core funding for the UK’s world-leading universities and research institutions.
  • Ambition to fund full association to Horizon Europe, enabling further collaboration with European partners. 
  • Commitment to establish the new Advanced Research and Invention Agency (ARIA) which will carry out high-risk, high-reward research to support ground-breaking discoveries across the UK.
  • Support announced for world-class R&D in the aerospace sector, co-investing with industry and guaranteeing funding for the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) [based at Cranfield University, just outside of Buckinghamshire] to 2031. 
  • Reaffirmation of funding for the UK to become the first country to launch a rocket into orbit from Europe in 2022, with the aim of becoming a leader in commercial small-satellite launch (as set out in the National Space Strategy).
  • Increased funding for Innovate UK to help connect companies to the capital, skills and connections needed to innovate and grow.
  • Grants worth £1.4bn for "internationally mobile" companies to invest in UK infrastructure, with a focus on increasing resilience for future pandemics and the production of electric vehicles in the NE and the Midlands.
  • £125m for Natural History Museum research centre at Harwell in Oxfordshire.
  • ZEBRA funding to deliver approximately 56 single decker zero emission buses in Milton Keynes.

Infrastructure 

  • To reflect the introduction of legally binding climate targets, the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) will now have an additional objective to consider how its advice can support climate resilience and the transition to net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
  • The government has also revised the NIC’s fiscal remit, a planning guideline to ensure that the Commission’s recommendations are affordable and prioritised appropriately.
  • England's city regions (with metro mayors) will receive £6.9bn to spend on train, tram, bus and cycle projects. 
  • Investment in cycling and buses announced, including a new dedicated commitment of £1.2 billion for bus transformation deals in England.
  • Continuation announced of the government’s £5 billion investment in Project Gigabit to support the rollout of gigabit-capable broadband in hard-to-reach areas across the whole of the UK.
  • £180 million announced over the next three years as part of the government’s £500 million investment for the Shared Rural Network, to deliver high-quality 4G mobile coverage to 95% of the UK.
  • £1.8bn announced for building around 160,000 new homes on brownfield sites. This includes £300 million of locally-led grant funding that will be distributed to Mayoral Combined Authorities and Local Authorities to unlock smaller brownfield sites for housing and improve communities in line with their priorities, and £1.5 billion to regenerate underused land and deliver transport links and community facilities.
  • £4.2 billion over the next three years for 40 new hospitals and over 70 hospital upgrades.
  • Launch of seven Community Diagnostic Centres in the South East, including Amersham Hospital. 

Skills

  • An additional £1.6 billion by 2024-25 for 16-19 year-olds’ education in England, maintaining funding rates in real terms per student.
  • Expand the Lifetime Skills Guarantee so more adults in England can access funding for in-demand Level 3 courses, and scale up Skills Bootcamps (and ensure local areas can spend funding where it’s needed most). 
  • Announcement of Multiply, the government’s new £560 million programme to help transform the lives of hundreds of thousands of adults across the UK.  This will be launched in Spring 2022 and will be delivered through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.
  • Providing £2.8 billion in capital investment in skills. This funding will include improvements to the condition of post-16 estate, new places in post-16 education; more specialist equipment and facilities for T Levels; and delivery of the commitment to 20 Institutes of Technology across England. 
  • Increase in Apprenticeship funding and extension of the £3,000 apprentice hiring incentive for employers until 31st January 2022.
  • Continued investment in Sector Based Work Academy Programme (SWAPs), which give unemployed people the opportunity to undertake work experience, learn new skills and retrain into high-demand sectors in their local area.
  • Investment in up to 300 youth facilities – targeted at areas most in need – through the Youth Investment Fund, and support young people to develop skills and confidence outside school through the National Citizen Service.

Jobs

  • Rise in the National Living Wage from £8.91 per hour to £9.50, to come into effect from 1st April 2022.
  • Continuation of investment in work coaches who will provide support to help job seekers on Universal Credit move into work and help people progress once in work. 
  • Help for those affected by long-term unemployment by continuing the Restart scheme, which provides up to 12 months of intensive, tailored employment support worth approximately £2,000 per person to help jobseekers increase the prospects of finding a job
  • Prioritisation of workers leaving the furlough scheme and making a Universal Credit claim through the Job Finding Support scheme.
  • Additional support for older workers to return to, or remain in, work.

Hard-hit sectors 

  • Extension of the Airport and Ground Operations Support Scheme (AGOSS) in England for a further six months.
  • Funding for the Film & TV Production Restart Scheme and the Live Events Reinsurance Scheme. 
  • Temporary rate uplifts to the Theatre, Orchestra and Museums & Galleries Exhibition tax reliefs. 
  • £42 million to support the UK’s world-leading creative industries, including supporting SMEs to scale up and providing bespoke support for the UK’s independent film and video game industries. 
  • Supporting the haulage sector by continuing to freeze Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) for heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) in 2022-23 and suspending the HGV Road User Levy for another 12 months from August 2022. This is in addition to steps being taken to resolve HGV driver shortages, including 5,000 time-limited visas, additional HGV driver testing capacity and £32.5 million to improve roadside HGV facilities.

Net zero (as announced previously) 

  • £240 million Net Zero Hydrogen Fund
  • £380 million for the UK’s world-leading offshore wind sector
  • £1 billion Carbon Capture Usage and Storage (CCUS) Infrastructure Fund
  • £140 million to establish the Industrial Decarbonisation and Hydrogen Revenue Support scheme (IDHRS) which supports hydrogen production and heavy industrial firms that adopt CCUS.
  • £1 billion Net Zero Innovation Portfolio, as announced in the Ten Point Plan, will accelerate near-to-market low-carbon energy innovations across the UK. 
  • £315 million for the Industrial Energy Transformation Fund, which will help businesses across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland cut their carbon emissions and reduce energy bills.
  • £385 million Advanced Nuclear Fund will develop the next generation of small and advanced modular reactor technologies, while the new £120 million Future Nuclear Enabling Fund will help nuclear projects address barriers to entry.
  • Increase in capital support to £817 million over the Spending Review period for the electrification of UK vehicles and their supply chains. This will ensure the automotive sector is globally competitive and at the forefront of the transition to net zero.
  • Building on the success of the Clean Maritime Demonstration Competition, the government is also extending this to a multi-year programme, delivering demonstrations and technology trials of clean maritime vessels and infrastructure to decarbonise the maritime sector

You can read the summary of the Autumn Budget and Spending Review on the new Buckinghamshire Economic Intelligence Observatory.

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