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06 September 2019

838: Did you miss Spending Round 2019?

Today’s entry analyses Spending Round 2019’s implications for infrastructure.

On Wednesday this week you would be forgiven for missing new Chancellor Sajid Javid’s ‘Spending Round 2019’ announcements. The main document is here.

It is relatively short at 50 pages and is the Government’s proposed spending for the financial year 2020-21; a multi-year proposal will follow next year that will ‘take into account the nature of Brexit’. Here is what this week’s document means for infrastructure.

The main item is that ‘later in the autumn’ (so we can note that in civil service speak, autumn has now started), the Government will publish a National Infrastructure Strategy. This will presumably be, or at least contain, the Government’s response to the National Infrastructure Commission’s National Infrastructure Assessment, which it published in July 2018 and to which the Government was supposed to respond in a year. Perhaps the NIC will issue an NIR (reply) to the NIS response to the NIA.

Relevant department-specific announcements are as follows:

  • Defra is to receive £30 million more for air quality (perhaps supporting local authorities’ clean air zones, although rather short of the £1.5 billion called for by local authority leaders this week), £30 million for terrestrial and marine biodiversity, climate change mitigation and adaptation and related items;
  • the DfT is to receive £200 million for low-emission buses and on-demand bus trials (is an on-demand bus really a big taxi?), £1.1 billion for the Strategic Road Network, £275 million for ‘maintaining rail infrastructure’, and unspecified ‘support’ for major transport projects such as the Leeds to Manchester route of Northern Powerhouse Rail, and East West rail links in the Oxford to Cambridge Arc;
  • BEIS is to receive £243 million extra for the Nuclear Decommissioning Agency; and
  • MHCLG is to receive ‘continued funding’ for the Midlands Engine and Northern Powerhouse.

And that’s it.

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