Tuesday 4 August 2020 3:01 pm

UK green lights £1.3bn of housing and infrastructure spending

Proposals to build more than 70,000 new homes and start a raft of commercial infrastructure projects were given the green light today in a £1.3bn funding announcement from the UK government.

More than 300 projects in England – including a £23m commercial development in Manchester and a £14.88m investment in building residential homes on Brownfield sites – were approved through the government’s new £900m Getting Building Fund.

The investment into the Getting Building Fund will see 45,000 homes built and create an estimated 85,000 jobs.

The newly announced spending will also include a £360m cheque to the Mayoral Combined Authorities – the eleven metropolitan mayors in the UK – to help build a further 26,000 homes.

However, mayor of London Sadiq Khan complained that the sum London would see from the £1.3bn was “absolutely paltry” and said he did not understand “what ministers have got against London and Londoners”.

Just £22.1m of the £900m committed through the Getting Building Fund went to the capital, compared to £85m for the South East of England, £54.2m for Greater Manchester, £52.6m for West Yorkshire and £47m for the North East.

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Housing secretary Robert Jenrick said the funding announcement would “give a much needed boost to our economic recovery”.

He added: “As we get Britain building we are also laying the foundations for a green economic recovery by investing in vital infrastructure for local communities, creating jobs and building environmentally-friendly homes with a huge £1.3bn investment announced today.”

The new spending comes as a part of the government’s “levelling up agenda” to improve infrastructure in economically deprived areas of the UK.

Boris Johnson’s agenda has rubbed many London power brokers the wrong way, with some suggesting it meant a siphoning of funding away from the capital.

Khan said that today’s announcement was a sign that London’s economic performance was taken for granted by the government.

“Businesses across the capital have been hit hard by the pandemic and now is the time to extend support, instead of offering what amounts to little more than a gesture,” he said.

“I’m not sure what ministers have got against London and Londoners but they can’t keep taking for granted that the capital – as the engine of the UK economy – will continue to contribute the vast amounts to the Treasury that support the government’s investment plans elsewhere in the country.

“The government needs to wake up and realise that London’s success is inextricably linked to the success of the rest of the country.”

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