Greater Manchester and the Liverpool City Region have been handed a transport funding boost in today’s (22 November) Budget.
The Chancellor said he was backing the Northern Powerhouse and elected mayors across the UK with his new Transforming Cities Fund.
Half of the £1.7bn fund (£850 million) will go to each of the UK’s combined authorities with metro mayors, with the rest allocated by a competition.
Greater Manchester will also benefit from a further devolution of powers from central government.
On the national front, the Chancellor downgraded 2017 growth from 2% to 1.5%, with GDP downgraded to 1.4%, 1.3% and 1.5% in subsequent years before rising to 1.6% in 2021-22.
- Business rates will be switched to being increased by the Consumer Price Index (CPI) two years earlier than planned.
- Revaluations will now take place every three years, rather than every five years, starting after the next revaluation, currently due in 2022.
- VAT threshold for small business to remain at £85,000 for two years.
- £500m support for 5G mobile networks, full fibre broadband and artificial intelligences.
Electric and driverless cars
- The UK will set out rules so that self-driving cars can be tested without a safety operator.
- An extra £100 million will go towards helping people buy battery electric cars. The Chancellor also said the government will make sure all new homes are built with the right cables for electric car charge points.
Personal taxation and wages
- Tax-free personal allowance on income tax will rise to £11,850 in April 2018.
- Short-haul air passenger duty rates and long-haul economy rates are to be frozen, paid for by an increase on premium-class tickets and on private jets.
- National Living Wage will rise in April 2018 by 4.4%, from £7.50 an hour to £7.83.
- The construction industry was offered a lift with the announcement that £34m will be made available for teaching skills like bricklaying and plastering.
- Plus £30m will go towards digital courses using AI (artificial intelligence).