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11 reasons to be excited by Budget 2016

Budget 2016

Chancellor George Osborne has tried to live up his billing as infrastructure announcement in his 2016 Budget. Here are 11 reasons to be cheerful:

  1. Driverless car trials are to start on UK roads next year. The government wants to make the UK a world leader in connected and autonomous vehicles.
  2. There are also plans for a £15M ”connected corridor” from London to Dover, within which vehicles will be able to communicate wirelessly with infrastructure and potentially other vehicles.
  3. A timetable for delivering infrastructure central to the Northern Powerhouse has been created and published. The timetable features a commitment for detailed plans for High Speed 3 to be drawn up by 2018.
  4. Osborne also set aside £161M to accelerate the upgrade of the Lancashire-Yorkshire M62; and £75M to develop a business case for other east-west road connections such as the mooted trans-Pennine tunnel.
  5. There was £80M for development of the Crossrail 2 project in London, alongside a request for the same level of contribution from Transport for London. The aim is to place a hybrid bill for the scheme before Parliament by 2020.
  6. Network Rail does not face fundamental reform after the Shaw Report stayed clear of recommending privatisation or break up.
  7. The Treasury is getting interested in “flyunders” to take busy London roads below ground, freeing up space for development. Osborne has asked Transport for London to put forward proposals for funding infrastructure projects from land value increases.
  8. More transport devolution for the Midlands, East of England and South West England spells more investment opportunities
  9. Highways England plans for an Oxford to Cambridge Expressway has been arguably boosted with the National Infrastructure Commission asked to review the scheme as part of a new study.
  10. The Environment Agency gets a cash boost after Osborne has pledged to spend an extra £700M over the next five years on flood defences. An increase in the rate of a tax paid by insurance firms will pay for the extra spending, which takes the programme to £3bn.
  11. The importance of maths has been recognised with Osborne asking University of London vice-chancellor Sir Adrian Smith to consider the feasibility of all students studying maths until they are 18.


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