Key Cities Group – Response to Budget 2017

In the run up to the Budget we asked the Chancellor to be bold. 

The OBR growth forecasts are not good, and reinforce the need the need for boldness. Whilst some of the Chancellors announcements are welcome, this was in many ways a cautious budget.

Key Cities welcome the announcements on housing particularly that the government has finally appeared to recognise the need to bring empty homes back into use and the review into land banking by developers.  One risk though is that stimulating demand for homes as the £300K floor on stamp duty will, without stimulating supply, will exacerbate house prices, which remain unaffordable for too many.

The £1.7bn Transforming Cities Fund is again welcome as is the focus on future skills and reshaping our economy for future technologies.  Funds should be allocated where they will make the maximum impact. We continue to argue, and the evidence strongly supports it, that investment in mid-size cities in the UK will pay major and cost effective dividends in driving both growth and productivity across all regions of the UK.

The Chancellor did not talk about exports, or support for exporters. We think this is important and Key Cities will continue to argue for our coastal ports and cities to get the support they need to drive exports in a post Brexit world, and to develop export capacity across all our cities.

There also needs to be a continued debate about the crisis in social care. Which wasn’t covered in the budget. The best way to relieve pressure on the NHS hospitals is to properly fund social care. Without support for social care, the NHS will struggle to deliver the outcomes we want. 

We hope Greg Clarke is bold in his Industrial Strategy White Paper due next week, and we look forward to that.

The need for boldness remains, and has never been more urgent.