Enterprise M3, the Local Enterprise Partnership for the wider M3 corridor from the New Forest in the South West to Staines in the North East, welcomes the economic growth measures included in yesterday’s budget announcement.
Included in the Chancellor’s Budget were a number of announcements aimed at stimulating economic growth. The first was the substantial package of loans and guarantees – the Shared Equity loan scheme for newly built homes and the mortgage guarantee scheme - aimed at people wanting to buy homes. The second was the new Employment Allowance which gives businesses and charities entitlement to a £2000 per year employment allowance towards their employer National Insurance Contribution (NICs) bill, from April 2014, to reduce the cost of hiring staff.
The Chancellor also announced that national infrastructure spending from 2015/16 will increase by £3bn per year and that he accepted Lord Heseltine’s idea of a single competitive pot of funding for local enterprise.
Responding to today’s Budget, Geoff French, Chair of the Enterprise M3 Board, said: “Yesterday’s announcements regarding homes and jobs are excellent news for businesses in the Enterprise M3 area. One of the key stumbling blocks to economic growth in our area, as identified in our Strategy for Growth, has been the shortage of housing for local workers. Our hope is that the shared equity loans announced yesterday will both stimulate the house building industry in the wider M3 corridor and, along with the new Employment Allowance, will encourage businesses to retain and grow their workforce in our area.”
Referring to the infrastructure spending announcement, Geoff French added: “We welcome the Chancellor’s announcement of an extra £3bn a year for infrastructure from 2015/16. Improving infrastructure is seen as one of the most pressing items on the Government’s ‘to do’ list if we are to enable economic recovery in this country. Here in the Enterprise M3 area we are focusing heavily on the prioritisation and direction of funding towards major schemes; campaigning for road, rail and air interventions that support improved business productivity and economic growth, and supporting the delivery of superfast broadband and piloting new ways to bring this to rural areas. We hope that some of that extra £3bn per year will be used to help our area realise these priorities.”
Commenting on the Chancellor’s announcement on the single competitive pot for local enterprise, Geoff French added: “We welcome the Government’s response to the Heseltine Report and the Chancellor’s acceptance of a single competitive pot of funding for local enterprise. Lord Heseltine has clearly stated that the LEPs are essential building blocks in the UK’s competitiveness agenda and we agree that without meaningful local empowerment, we will not transform our national performance. We now look forward to working together with Government to encourage the growth that this country so desperately needs.”