The measures were unveiled by the Chancellor as part of yesterday’s Budget which set out how the nation will build back better from the pandemic, level up opportunity and prosperity in communities across the UK, as well as help more families on to the housing ladder.
The Budget underlines the government’s immediate priority of helping communities prosper again by supporting jobs and business as we emerge from the pandemic, in line with the Prime Minister’s Roadmap.
Crucially it sets out how we will go further and faster levelling up communities through three major new funding programmes as the government makes the biggest changes to the way we support local economic growth for a decade.
The Levelling up Fund, the UK Community Renewal Fund and the Community Ownership Fund will target over £5 billion of investment across the UK to regenerate our town centres and high streets, improve local transport links, invest in local culture, and give communities the power to take over cherished local places that might otherwise be lost.
These investment programmes will also see the UK government driving investment to where it’s needed most across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.
A further 45 Town Deals have also been announced totalling over £1 billion, and eight new Freeport areas will also create trade, jobs, investment and innovation across the country as part of the levelling up agenda.
Businesses are the backbone of our economy and supporting them is central to the nation’s bounce back from the pandemic. As part of the announced £5 billion Restart Grants - the government will also be providing all English councils with an additional £425 million of discretionary grant funding, on top of the £1.6 billion already allocated. This will be available to all local authorities across England to bid into who can demonstrate they have local businesses in need.
This Budget is also outlining measures to support the most vulnerable in our society with £4 million funding for a pilot to provide specialist support to give vulnerable homeless women access to safe spaces. This funding comes on top of the £125 million for local authorities delivering the Domestic Abuse Bill’s new statutory duty to provide support to victims and their children within safe accommodation
Further measures to help turn ‘Generation Rent’ into ‘Generation Buy’ have also been outlined with a new mortgage guarantee scheme and extension to the Stamp Duty cut going towards helping people realise the dream of owning their own home.
Secretary of State for Communities Robert Jenrick said:
Our priority is to support communities as they recover from the pandemic and to help the nation Build Back Better.
This is a Budget that delivers for communities with multi-billion investment to help level up all areas of the UK by supporting businesses, creating new jobs, helping increase home ownership and spreading opportunity.
We are putting communities in control by making town centres and high streets ready for the future, investing in local public transport and giving a helping hand to local people to save much loved places from disappearing.