George Osborne’s sixth Budget focused on telling a story of national economic recovery and success. The Chancellor described an economy “stronger in every way” after having made the journey from “austerity to prosperity”. Delivered against the backdrop of a General Election in less than seven weeks, the rhetoric was about “Britain, the come-back country” and the success of the Government’s long-term economic plan.
The overall statistics on the economy were positive, with national economic growth revised upwards to 2.5 per cent for 2015. In absolute terms, more people are in work nationally than ever before, the employment rate stands at 72 per cent (the fourth highest rate in the G7) and the unemployment rate this year is down to 5.3 per cent.
The Budget contained a number of announcements which will have a specific impact on cities. This briefing looks at some of the key funding and policy commitments made by the Chancellor and their implications for UK city economies.