Autumn Budget and Spending Review 2021: Chancellor spends on transport and infrastructure

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has outlined the Government’s commitment to improve transport and infrastructure in today’s (27th October 2021) Autumn Budget and Spending Review.

To deliver on the Government’s commitment to level up the whole UK, today’s announcement includes £5.7 billion for London-style transport settlements in English city regions over five years including Greater Manchester, Liverpool City Region and the West Midlands.

The Spending Review confirms £2.6 billion between 2020-2025 for a long-term pipeline of over 50 local roads upgrades, over £5 billion for local roads maintenance; and funding for buses, cycling and walking totalling more than £5 billion in England over the Parliament.

The allocation of the first round of the UK-wide Levelling Up Fund sees £1.7 billion of local investment in local areas, while the launch of the over £2.6 billion UK Shared Prosperity Fund is designed to fund programmes to help people into jobs.

The first 21 projects will receive funding from the £150 million Community Ownership Fund, helping communities across the UK protect and take ownership of their most treasured local community assets.

The Government also reaffirmed its commitment to building back greener from the pandemic.

Building on the £26 billion of capital investment announced for the Net Zero Strategy just last week, this Budget and Spending Review brings the total committed by the government since March 2021 for a green industrial revolution in the UK up to £30 billion.

It includes £380 million for the offshore wind sector and £6.1 billion to deliver the Transport Decarbonisation Plan by boosting the number of zero emission vehicles, helping to develop greener planes and ships, and encouraging more trips by bus, bicycle and foot.

£3.9 billion will decarbonise buildings, including £1.8 billion to support tens of thousands of low-income households to make the transition to net zero while reducing their energy bills.

The Government has also launched a £1.4bn ‘Global Britain Investment Fund’ to attract more overseas investment in UK economy, with more than £800m being made available to manufacturers keen on producing electric vehicles (EVs) who are based in the North East of England or the Midlands.


Sunak also confirmed the Government’s plans to invest in innovation and skills.

To create the high-wage, high-skilled jobs of the future, public R&D investment will increase to record levels of £20 billion by 2024-25. Combined with R&D tax reliefs – which are going to be modernised and refocused – total UK Government R&D support as a proportion of GDP is forecasted to increase from 0.7% in 2018 to 1.1% in 2024-25 – well above the 2018 OECD average of 0.7%.

A new UK Global Talent Network will work with businesses and research institutes to identify and attract the best global talent in key science and tech sectors.

Levelling up

The government will make levelling up a reality across Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland by providing UK-wide support in critical areas, while also targeting action to meet local needs.

This Spending Review also provides an additional £8.7 billion per year to the devolved administrations through the Barnett formula – leading to the highest annual funding settlements since devolution in 1998:

  • The Scottish Government will benefit from a £4.6 billion per year funding boost
  • The Welsh Government a £2.5 billion per year funding boost
  • The Northern Ireland Executive a £1.6 billion per year funding boost

£49 million from the Levelling Up Fund will be spent on 11 projects across Northern Ireland including an Electric Vehicle charging network across the country.

Billions of pounds have been set aside to improve public transport with Greater Manchester, the West Midlands and West Yorkshire among the recipients set to benefit from the funding.

One area which will benefit from £830m of funding is West Yorkshire. This will allow the region to extend the West Bradford-Cycle Superhighway and install electric vehicle charging stations in Kirklees neighbourhoods.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak said: “Today’s Budget delivers a stronger economy for the British people: stronger growth, with the UK economy recovering faster than our major competitors. Stronger public finances, with our national debt finally under control. Stronger employment, with fewer people out of work and more people in work. Growth up, jobs up, and debt down: let there be no doubt – our plan is working.”

Image from Shutterstock.

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