Budget 2012: What does it mean for cities?

What will the impact of the 2012 Budget be on jobs and growth?

Briefing published on 22 March 2012 by Rachel Smith

As the UK economy moves gradually towards economic recovery, this year’s Budget was an important opportunity for the Government to demonstrate that it has a clear plan to support economic growth as well as manage the deficit. The Chancellor recognised this, presenting his third (including the “Emergency Budget“) Budget as the Government’s plan to “reward work and support growth”.

But to what extent did he succeed? As in previous years, the Government’s commitment to reducing the deficit meant the Budget had to be fiscally neutral, with any additional spending offset by cuts elsewhere.  As well as the headline grabbing tax initiatives, it was good to see that cities – the drivers of the UK economy – were well represented, with announcements on devolution of powers, borrowing and infrastructure all affecting cities. Other measures, such as support for enterprise and access to finance, will also affect city economies.

This note reviews what the Budget 2012 will mean for the UK’s cities. It argues that there are some positive measures, but that there are missed opportunities for more place-responsive policies, in particular on youth unemployment, skills, job creation and enterprise.

Our briefing outlines the main implications for cities, including

  • Devolving powers to cities
  • Investing in growth
  • Infrastructure
  • Housing and planning

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