Budget 2021: Anger as some big Nottinghamshire projects miss out on Government funding

Nottingham South Labour MP Lilian Greenwood.

By Anna Whittaker and Andrew Topping, Local Democracy Reporters

A Labour MP said it was ‘deeply disappointing’ that Nottingham was not mentioned during the Chancellor’s budget announcement.

Despite Nottingham City Council being successful in one of its bids for transport – the city or county was not mentioned by name during this afternoon’s speech by Rishi Sunak.

A successful bid for an £18 million grant will be spent on renewing roads, pavements and street lights as well as a roll out of more electric charging points across the city.

But the chief executive of East Midlands Chamber said it was disappointing that “the can has been kicked down the road” on key issues like HS2.

There was another blow to Nottingham when it was revealed that it was unsuccessful on a much-needed bid for £20m to demolish the Broadmarsh shopping centre.

Mansfield Conservative MP Ben Bradley said the area would benefit significantly in funding for education, measures designed to improve wages and other big infrastructure projects that have been approved.

Lilian Greenwood, MP for Nottingham South, said: “It’s deeply disappointing that there was no mention of Nottingham or Nottinghamshire in the Chancellor’s statement and that the Government isn’t lifting a finger to help us get the Broadmarsh redevelopment under way even though that’s our city’s top priority.

“Despite our region being at the back of the queue for transport investment for over a decade, the Chancellor also failed to provide much-needed certainty about investment in the East Midlands’ rail network.

“The long-awaited Integrated Rail Plan has been delayed again but incredibly, in the week before the COP26 climate summit, he decided to cut the cost of domestic flights.

“Labour offers a real alternative. We will tax fairly, spend wisely, and get our economy firing on all cylinders.”

A total of 109 local bids were successful as part of the ‘Levelling Up’ scheme which allows local authorities to regenerate towns and cities.

But Ms Greenwood added: “My Nottingham South constituents watching the Budget today will think the Chancellor is living in a parallel universe.

“Every week it’s costing more to do the weekly shop and more to fill up the car and they’re worried about how they’re going to afford to keep the heating on this winter. But instead of helping Nottingham’s struggling families, the Government is hitting them with higher taxes, a record increase in National Insurance and a cut to Universal Credit.

“Of course the increase in the National Minimum Wage is welcome but Rishi Sunak is giving with one handing whilst taking much more away with the other.”

Jason Zadrozny, leader of Ashfield District Council (Ind) said the East Midlands had been “shafted” by the Government.

He said: “The Government have announced major public transport infrastructure projects in every other region.

“We are nowhere nearer to knowing whether the HS2b Eastern Leg will go ahead and stop at Toton – nor the electrification of the Midlands’ Mainline.

“This has got to go down to failure from local Conservative politicians in our region to make their voice heard in Parliament. This budget was meant to be about levelling up – it has done the opposite – it’s as if the East Midlands doesn’t exist and continuing to fail to level up the country.”

However, Nottingham Conservative MP Ben Bradley pointed to reductions on beer and cider duty, the continued freeze on fuel duty, and spending on schools as evidence local people would benefit.

He also said £203 million from the Levelling Up Fund has been announced for 10 projects in the East Midlands from the first tranche of allocations – two of them in Notts.

He said: “This Budget is huge for my constituents across Mansfield and Warsop. A huge part of the levelling up agenda is ensuring people have more opportunities to succeed, so I’m particularly delighted with news that we’re continuing to prioritise and invest in skills and education.

“As Further Education Ambassador, it’s massively welcome that we’re increasing skills funding by 42 per cent. There are many other welcome announcements surrounding education: tripling SEN capital provision to over £900m a year, £300 million for new Family Hubs and the Start for Life programme, increasing core schools funding by over £4.7 billion. There’s a lot to dig through but I’m really pleased Government has clearly listened to my calls.

“I am also delighted the Government is supporting our local hospitality industry that has been so badly hit by the Coronavirus pandemic.”

East Midlands Chamber chief executive Scott Knowles said: “We certainly didn’t learn more about what levelling up will mean for the East Midlands beyond some early allocations of infrastructure spending, and there was only a token mention of the skills issue that is currently holding businesses back from growing during the economic recovery.

“Big questions remain about key issues like the HS2 Eastern Leg and it was disappointing that, after already waiting for such a long time to receive a firm commitment on its future, the can has been kicked down the road once more with the Chancellor saying the Integrated Rail Plan will be published ‘soon’.

“The most positive note for businesses may well be the fact big taxes weren’t revisited – but with a number of changes coming in spring 2023, businesses will need to be reassured that this isn’t just deferring pain to the future.”

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