News - 16 March 2016

Budget 2016 support for area doesn’t go far enough, says D2N2 LEP

Budget 2016 provided some gains for the D2N2 area but could have done much more, says the Local Enterprise Partnership’s Chief Executive David Ralph (pictured).

Chancellor George Osborne’s eighth Budget, as last year, concentrated heavily on building the infrastructure of the ‘Northern Powerhouse’, with not enough heard about the East Midlands or wider Midlands Engine for Growth initiative, he added.

There were some highlights for the D2N2 area, including on:

Future funding for D2N2’s work

  • Up to £1.8billion will be allocated to England’s 39 Local Enterprise Partnerships later this year (including D2N2), through a further round of Growth Deals. D2N2’s current Growth Deal financing is building the infrastructure for the area’s economic growth, for instance by supporting transport improvements and major projects. For example the £6.5m from D2N2 towards the £30m BioCity Nottingham extension, currently under construction.
  • A further £2billion of central Local Growth Fund financing will be allocated through the Government’s Home Building Fund, the programme providing developer finance to unlock large housing sites. Again, D2N2 financing now is helping such projects in its area, including the current £100m Castleward Derby scheme.
  • LEPs will also be able to offer enhanced capital allowances in their area’s Enterprise Zones – such as the Nottingham and Derby EZ – for eight years from the establishment of relevant sites.

Transport –

  • Midlands Connect – the initiative already working to better integrate all transport networks across the region, and between it and other regions – which D2N2 is a part of, will be on a statutory footing by the end of 2018, to create a sub-national transport body for the region. Midlands Connect also received £5million in the July 2015 Budget. It is seen as vital in taking forward Midlands Engine ambitions.
  • Priority roads development work will include the continued development of the M1, between London through the D2N2 area and up to Yorkshire, into a smart motorway (through technological enhancements), and improvements will also be made to the A46 Newark bypass and its A1 junction in Nottinghamshire.

Research –

  • A £16million research and development fund, match-funded by industry, will support East Midlands aerospace; including £7million to help Rolls-Royce develop new high-temperature alloys in Derby. The Midlands will additionally receive over £15 million funding to support R&D into lowering vehicle emissions.
  • There will also be a Midlands science and innovation audit, to map its research and innovation strengths, to identify areas of potential competitive advantage. Timing for the Midlands’ audit will be announced later in 2016.

Business investment –

  • A £250million Midlands Engine Investment Fund, or ‘fund of funds’, to invest in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) has been agreed between Government and the British Business Bank, and Midlands LEPs (including D2N2) and businesses.

The D2N2 LEP also welcomed national initiatives designed to boost business such as:

  • A fuel duty freeze, which will be for the sixth year running by the end of 2016/17. This will benefit two of D2N2’s eight key economic sectors; transport and logistics, and transport equipment manufacturing.
  • SMEs working from a property with a rateable value (RV) of £12,000 or under, will pay no business rates from April 2017. The current RV cut-off point is £6,000 or less. There will also be a tapered rate relief on properties worth up to £15,000.
  • Capital Gains Tax rates – the tax on the profit from selling an asset which has increased in value – will be reduced (from April 6 next month); with the higher rate dropping to 20% (from 28%) and the basic rate to 10% (from 18%).
  • Corporation Tax will be cut to 17% in 2020, which the Treasury estimates will benefiting more than a million British businesses.
  • Class 2 National Insurance contributions for self-employed people who make £5,965 profit a year or more will be scrapped from April 2018.

David Ralph, Chief Executive of the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “The Budget did have welcome news for the D2N2 area and the region; not least around Midlands Engine ambitions for business investment and the Midlands Connect transport initiative.

“The Chancellor’s own Budget highlighted that the East Midlands showed stronger productivity growth, between 2010 and 2014, than other regions and today we saw further positive employment figures released for the region.

“However, without a North Midlands Devolution Deal agreed locally and with Government, we are seeing other English areas with Devolution Deals secure additional investment to support key projects to deliver growth. Devolution remains front and centre of the Government’s agenda, and it is vital that all the D2N2 area’s economy benefits from the freedoms and additional funding it potentially brings.”

For further details on the Budget 2016 see Government website www.gov.uk/government/topical-events/budget-2016

To find out more about the D2N2 Local Enterprise Partnership’s work building economic growth and jobs in its area see its website at www.d2n2lep.org/

For further information about this news release contact D2N2 LEP Communications Manager Sean Kirby on 0115 9578749 or email: sean.kirby@d2n2lep.org

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