Key points from the chancellor’s speech

Budget 2020 - Rishi Sunak and Team - Credit BBC

Source: BBC News

The Budget team outside number 11 Downing Street

Rishi Sunak has just delivered his first Budget. After announcing a series of huge spending measures to counter the impact of coronavirus on the economy - amounting to a £30bn fiscal stimulus package - he revealed his plans for construction, including £600bn for infrastructure, the largest investment since 1955.

Housing will get a £9.5bn boost for the Affordable Homes Programme, taking it to £12bn from 2021-22, while £1bn was pledged to remove all unsafe cladding from public and private buildings over 18m high. And contractors will be relieved to hear that the fuel duty freeze will remain in place.

Here is a summary of our main takeaways for construction:

  • £600bn for infrastructure. Sunak confirmed that the spend will be triple the average amount spent on infrastructure over the past 40 years, and the biggest spending commitment since 1955
  • A coronavirus business interruption loan scheme to support up to a further £1bn of lending to SMEs, a £2.2bn grant scheme for small businesses, and a dedicated helpline for those who need a deferral period on their tax liabilities

Transport and roads

  • Over £27bn investment on strategy roads in England between 2020 and 2025
  • £4.2bn over a five-year integrated transport settlements for eight city regions 
  • A two-mile tunnel for the A303 road diverting it away from Stonehenge
  • Lower Thames Crossing, increasing road capacity across the river, east of London, by 90%
  • £500m every year to fill potholes

Housing and hospitals

  • £1bn building safety fund to ensure all unsafe combustible cladding (not just ACM panels) will be removed from all high rise buildings over 18m in height
  • An additional £9.5bn for the affordable homes programme
  • £1.1bn allocated from the housing infrastructure fund to build nearly 70,000 homes in high demand areas across the country, including Manchester, south Sunderland and south Lancaster
  • £5.2bn for flood defences between 2021 and 2027, to protect 336,000 homes
  • £400m for mayoral combined authorities and local areas to establish housing on brownfield land
  • Plans to develop the case for up to four development corporations in the OxCam Arc at Bedford, St Neots/Sandy, Cambourne and Cambridge, including a new town at Cambridge
  • £6bn in extra funding to help build 40 new hospitals
  • £683m increase in the capital budget of the Department of Health and Social Care in the 2020-21

R&D and universities

  • Overall the government plans to increase public R&D investment to £22bn per year by 2024-25, taking public spending on R&D to 0.8% of GDP
  • £1.5bn over next five years in capital spending to refurbish further education colleges
  • £120m to bring FE and HE providers in England together with employers to open up to eight new institutes of technology
  • £95m for providers in England for facilities & equipment to support T-level rollout

Green economy

  • £500m over the next five years to support the rollout of a fast-charging network for electric vehicles, so drivers will never be further than 30 miles from a rapid charging station
  • A carbon capture and storage infrastructure fund to establish CCS in at least two UK sites, one by the mid-2020s, a second by 2030
  • Tax on electricity to be frozen but raised on gas - no details yet
  • Red diesel tax relief to be removed from April 2022, except in agriculture, fish farming, rail and for non-commercial heating

Coronarvirus measures

  • SMEs to be offered loans of up to £2m underwritten by the government to get firms through the coronavirus crisis