The Chancellor of the Exchequer put forward several commitments to improve the country’s infrastructure in the Budget, with the Transforming Cities Fund extended.
Philip Hammond’s 71-minute Budget declaration to the House of Commons made a series of promises that will help to improve Britain’s railways and roads.
Part of this is extending the Transforming Cities Fund; launched last year as part of the government’s Industrial Strategy, the Transforming Cities Fund was initially worth £1.7 billion which was set aside for investment in transport links, upgrading infrastructure across the country and targeting weaknesses in the transport system.
As part of the Budget, Mr Hammond announced a significant boost to this fund, as well as investment for smart transport.
He said: “Our devolution agenda is giving power back to the people, and we go further to fire up the Northern Powerhouse, fuel the Midlands Engine and back our regions across the UK.
“We’re increasing the Transforming Cities Fund to £2.4 billion and providing an additional £90 million to trial new models of smart transport, including ‘on demand buses’.”
Elsewhere, the Chancellor committed a further £37 million of additional development funding for Northern Powerhouse Rail; £20 million to develop a plan for “the critical section of East-West rail between Oxford and Cambridge,” and an investment of £291 million that will unlock 18,000 new homes in East London through improvements to the Docklands Light Railway.
With housing shortages so apparent in England, the latter is also an extremely important announcement.
In the Budget, the Chancellor also confirmed earlier reports about the multi-billion pound investment into the road network.
This will be supported by a £28.8 billion National Roads Fund which will be paid for by road tax and includes £25.3 billion for the strategic road network – so will upgrade motorways, trunk and A-roads.
This is, according to the government, the largest ever investment of this kind.
The network of local roads and larger road projects will also be supported by this investment, while local authorities will receive £420 million to fix potholes, renew bridges and tunnels, and £150 million will improve local traffic hotspots.