Mayor James Palmer welcomed Chancellor Philip Hammond’s Budget yesterday, which included additional funding of £21 million to the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority from the Transforming Cities Fund.
Mayor James Palmer said: “There was welcome news for Cambridgeshire and Peterborough in Chancellor Philip Hammond’s Budget yesterday.
“First was the additional £21 million that will be made available for much needed upgrades to our transport infrastructure through the Transforming Cities Fund. Cambridgeshire and Peterborough had already secured £74 million up to the period 2021-22, but this additional money will take us to 2022-23. Our roads, rail and other infrastructure cannot keep up with our growing economy, so every pound of investment will be essential in ensuring that growth continues.
“I was delighted the Chancellor used his Budget to support a significant and underappreciated part of our economy – our market towns and high streets. He announced a high street regeneration fund of £650 million and a cut to business rates by a third for small businesses, worth £900 million, for the next two years. This announcement dovetails with the work the Combined Authority has already been doing in revitalising our market towns, aiming to make them more prosperous and attractive places to live, work and shop, through a series of Market Town Masterplans.
“We are investing £4.1 million in St Neots, our first scheme of many, and I believe that these Masterplans are essential to address the very real pressures our town centres are facing, including high rents and rates and slow footfall, coupled with competition from the big internet retailers.
“More generally there was good news for working people in Cambridgeshire and Peterborough that the Chancellor has brought forward by a year increases to income tax thresholds. That means from April 2019 the basic 20% rate of tax will only apply to income over £12,500, instead of £11,850 and the higher rate of income tax will start at £50,000 instead of £46,350. The Chancellor’s message is that austerity is over and it is good news that 32 million working people in the UK will start feeling that in their pockets in the Spring.
“Small employers will also benefit on the apprenticeship levy where their contribution level will fall from 10% to 5%, as part of a £695 million package to support apprenticeships in the UK. There had been concerns from small businesses that they levy was not working for them as employers, so this is an important step in helping step up the delivery of more apprenticeships in the UK.”