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Major Updates

The West of England is set to benefit from a share of £4.2 billion for transport.

This was one of number of major announcements in yesterday’s budget that will support the West of England Combined Authority’s ambitious plans to ensure residents have better skills, more job opportunities and a better quality of life.

This funding for transport is based on the Transport for London model, and will be agreed with central government based on plans put forward by Combined Authority Mayors.

West of England Mayor, Tim Bowles, said: “This is a great budget that shows real commitment to devolution and the value of having a Combined Authority. This funding will support our ambitions for public transport to help us tackle congestion and air quality; it offers us the opportunity to do something genuinely transformational for our region.

“The budget underlines the themes of our West of England Local Industrial Strategy, with our emphasis on investing in ideas and innovation; driving productivity and investing in infrastructure – ensuring every resident has access to opportunities.

“We are well placed to benefit from extra investment which is on the way for skills, including in further education. We already have a detailed employment and skills plan that sets out the skills that our region’s businesses need, and how we need to work with skills providers to help our residents gain the skills they need for rewarding, well-paid jobs. We are working with employers to maximise the value of the apprenticeship levy to the region and we welcome further discussion with government about how we build on this to benefit businesses and residents.”

The budget also includes a share of £387 million through the Local Growth Fund, as well as significant investment into business.

Chair of the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership, Professor Steve West, said: “Additional LGF funding will allow us to continue important investment to support economic growth and create new jobs.

“We also welcome government support for businesses through this challenging time as they deal with the impact of Coronavirus, as well as additional funding for Growth Hubs. This will allow our West of England Growth Hub to support more small and medium-sized businesses to grow and thrive.”

Other areas the combined authority is set to benefit from a share of include:

  • £12.2 billion for the Affordable Homes Programme
  • £643 million for accommodation and support services to help people off the streets and to start rebuilding their lives
  • £400 million for Mayoral Combined Authorities to establish housing on brownfield land.

Press release by WECA.

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