The leading figures of the business world in the Sheffield City Region today wrote to Chancellor Philip Hammond to set out their expectations of what should be included in next week’s Budget.
In an unprecedented move, the heads of the City Region, the Company of Cutlers, the Federation of Small Businesses, the Institute of Directors, and the Chambers of Commerce have written jointly to the Chancellor.
They want to see pledges on issues that are key to the local economy such as HS2, funding, housing initiatives, innovation, major road and rail improvements, and skills training which will radically improve the life chances of the region’s young people.
They say that strong support from Government “gives our businesses confidence to grow and attracts inward investment for the benefit of Sheffield City Region, the North and the UK economy. We hope that you use the Budget to support investment in Sheffield City Region and unlock our ambition to be a £55bn economy by 2040.”
And they have signed up to a 12-point list of areas where they want to see action:
On transport –
- Commitment to HS2 connectivity in Sheffield, a parkway station in the city region, and a ‘loop’ back from the Sheffield spur onto the new HS2 line North
- Recognition of the important role that Doncaster Sheffield Airport could play with a proposed rail station at the airport to make journey times to London 80 minutes
- The extension of the Smart motorway between M1 junctions 34 and 39 to support significant growth around this corridor which includes the Advanced Manufacturing Innovation District
- Commitment to the upgrading of the A1 between M18 and M62, an area of significant congestion and delays
- Commitment to a Southern Pennines Corridor connection from Sheffield to Manchester, Manchester Airport, Liverpool and the West Coast Corridor to resolve the constraints and congestion on trans-Pennine road and rail routes
On funding –
- Commitment to long-term financial support for economic development from 2021, particularly important as local growth funding (LGF) and EU funds (ESIF) are due to end
- Confirmed continued investment in the Sheffield City Region Growth Hub which is already working with more than 4,700 local businesses to help them achieve their growth ambitions
- Confirmation of the success of the City Region’s bid to the Housing Infrastructure Fund so that 20,200 homes can be built for local residents
- An innovation fund which will help companies to develop technologies, build on assets such as the region’s Advanced Manufacturing Park, and create global supply chain opportunities
On skills –
- An increase in funding from £3.6m to £5m to continue growing the highly successful Skills Bank which is already helping more than 5,500 employees in the region
- Progress on the City Region’s bid for capital investment for an Institute of Technology and Digitalisation
- Funding for a long-standing proposal for a University Technical College in Doncaster to create a pipeline of skilled workers for the region’s rail, engineering, construction and manufacturing sectors whilst also improving life chances and social mobility for c.2,500 of the region’s young people over the next ten years
And the leaders add: “Never has it been more important that the Budget delivers for parts of Britain that have the potential to grow further and help deliver a more productive, prosperous and inclusive economy.
“Over the last three years our 68,000 businesses have created 37,000 jobs locally and nearly 6,000 new businesses have started up. We are proud of these achievements, but now is the time for Government to help us in the next stage of our growth by delivering on its promise to invest in the North.”