UK Recovery Brief: Tuesday, June 30
Each day, our Public Policy team will be reporting on the latest news in the evolving situation. To view the previous day’s summary, please click here.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has delivered a speech setting out an economic recovery plan
- The Prime Minister used the opportunity to outline his plans to fix longstanding economic problems across the UK, whilst also promising £5bn to build homes and infrastructure.
- The speech echoed many of the promises that were outlined during the Conservatives election campaign, as Mr Johnson renewed his promise to “level-up” the whole of the UK to deliver new opportunities and investment.
- The Prime Minister also stated that the Government had no intention to use austerity measures in order to reduce the UK’s growing debt.
- In addition, Boris Johnson has also announced “Project Speed” to deliver radical reforms to the planning system to making it easier to build better homes where people want to live.
- Incoming regulations will provide greater freedom for buildings and land in town centres to enable the change of use without the need for planning permission, allowing new homes to be created through the regeneration of vacant and redundant buildings.
- The outlined changes will come into effect in September.
- Criticising the speech, Labour leader Keir Starmer said that the proposals equated to less than £100 per person and didn’t meet the needs of the country. However, the CBI welcomed the Prime Minister’s statement saying it had set out the “first steps on the path to recovery.”
The Government has released details of what the extra spending will involve
- The Governments extra spending plans include:
- £1.5bn this year for hospital maintenance, eradicating mental health dormitories, enabling hospital building, and improving A&E capacity.
- £100m this year for 29 projects in our road network, from bridge repairs in Sandwell to boosting the quality of the A15 in the Humber region. Plus £10m for development work to unblock the Manchester rail bottleneck, which will begin this year.
- Over £1bn to fund the first 50 projects of a new, ten-year school rebuilding programme, starting from 2020-21. These projects will be confirmed in the Autumn, and construction on the first sites will begin from September 2021.
- £560m and £200m for repairs and upgrades to schools and FE colleges respectively this year.
- £142m for digital upgrades and maintenance to around 100 courts this year, £83m for maintenance of prisons and youth offender facilities, and £60m for temporary prison places, creating thousands of new jobs.
- £900m for a range of ‘shovel ready’ local growth projects in England over the course of this year and next, as well as £96m to accelerate investment in town centres and high streets through the Towns Fund this year. This will provide all 101 towns selected for town deals with £500k-£1m to spend on projects such as improvements to parks, high streets, and transport.
- A recommitment to reforest Britain by planting over 75,000 acres of trees every year by 2025 and a pledge of £40m to boost local conservation projects and create 3000 jobs, including new Conservation Rangers, and safeguard a further 2000 – training young people and others in the community to protect their local environments.
- Chancellor Rishi Sunak would be setting out the first phase of the Government’s economic recovery plan on 8 July.
- Health Secretary Matt Hancock announced a local lockdown for Leicester. This involves preventing any further easing of measures due to take place on 4 July and the closing of schools and non-essential shops. It also means that people in Leicester are advised to stay at home as much as possible.
- The Welsh Minister for Economy, Ken Skates has announced an extension to its moratorium on commercial lease forfeitures and unreasonable evictions, though the Welsh Government said rent should be paid “wherever possible”. The measure was due to expire on 30 June but will now be extended to 30 September.
- The Northern Ireland Executive have announced that outdoor gatherings of up to 30 people are to be allowed. They also published guidance for operators of urban centres and green spaces on how they could achieve social distancing and protect those using their venues.
- The Government have announced the extension of the Future Fund loan scheme. The new eligibility criteria will extend to companies which have been part of an accelerator programme, but who were required to have a parent company outside of the UK. The Government has extended the money available, with the initial £250 million now having reached £320 million.
- The Government has provided further details of the £285 million funding for courts and prisons.
- The UK economy shrank more than first thought between January and March, contracting 2.2% in the joint largest fall since 1979, official figures show. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) revised down its previous estimate of a 2% contraction, with all the main economic sectors dropping.
- The EU has named 14 countries whose citizens are deemed “safe” to be let in from 1 July, they include Australia, Canada, Japan, Morocco and South Korea. However the US, Brazil and China are excluded.