Chancellor George Osborne delivered his 'fiscally neutral' Budget on 21 March 2012, placing emphasis on tax reforms, investment in infrastructure and making the country more attractive for investment.
POS has produced a brief synopsis of the key announcements, focusing specifically on issues relating to energy, property and the built environment.
- Infrastructure and planning
- The National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) will be published on Tuesday 27 March.
- The Chancellor indicated that the controversial clause of the "presumption in favour of sustainable development" will remain central to the NPPF.
- A £70 million fund has been allocated to boost development in London. The Chancellor also agreed to the Mayor of London's request for enhanced capital allowances for businesses in the new Royal Docks enterprise zone.
- This £70 million forms part of the £270 million expansion of the Growing Places fund, created with £500 million in 2011 to bolster development led by local communities and businesses.
- The Chancellor announced an additional £150 million of support for the Get Britain Building fund to create 3,000 new homes. The fund was established in November 2011 with a £420 million allocation to shore up the construction industry and restart stalled projects.
- New Tax Increment Financing powers will be given to councils to fund new infrastructure projects. The Government will allocate £150 million for the scheme.
- The prospect of airport expansion in the South East has been strengthened by the Chancellor, who stated that the Government "must confront the lack of airport capacity in the south east of England." There has been speculation that a new third runway at Heathrow or a new Thames Estuary airport is increasingly likely following the Chancellor's comments.
- The Government has agreed to make enhanced capital allowances available from 1 April 2012 at designated sites in enterprise areas in Scotland, including Irvine, Nigg and Dundee, and at Deeside in North Wales, with the potential to deliver more than 9,000 new jobs in total.
- Former Deputy Prime Minister, Lord Heseltine, will conduct a review of how Whitehall and other public bodies can collaborate with private organisations to boost growth.
- The Treasury also announced today that it will consult on the role REITs can play in supporting the local housing sector. There was no commitment to consult on mortgage REITs.
- The Government will continue its commitment to the Northern Hub rail scheme as set out in the National Infrastructure Plan 2011. Network Rail will invest £130 million in projects which include the Hope Valley line from Manchester to Leeds and improved links between Manchester, Preston and Blackpool.
- A national road strategy will be developed with a renewed focus on scrutinising the performance of the Highways Agency.
- The Government will also carry out a feasibility study into new ownership and financed models for Britain's road, including privatisation. A report will be presented in the Autumn Statement 2012.
- The Government plans to publish a schedule for gas generation in the autumn 2012, recognising that gas-fired energy generation will continue to play a major role in energy supplies over the next decade.
- New measures to encourage investment in oil and gas on the UK Continental Shelf were announced, including a new field allowance targeted at the West of Shetland area and ensuring long term certainty on decommissioning relief.