As well as some really positive announcements on childcare, energy bills and growing the workforce in the Budget last week, we also found out about some great investments coming our way to Mansfield and the wider East Midlands too.
Even though there’s still over a year to go until our new devolution plans are implemented, they’re already opening up doors for the East Midlands, allowing us to sit at the top table with other devolved authorities and benefit from things like the new ‘Investment Zones’.
There’ll be 12 of these across 8 parts of the country, with specific tax and regulatory rules that will drive economic growth.
This initiative is only being offered to established devolved powers such as Greater Manchester and the West Midlands, but now we’ve ensured that the East Midlands is at the front of the queue.
An East Midlands Investment Zone will potentially be worth £80 million to our region, helping us to attract potentially billions in inward investment and new opportunities, particularly around science, technology and innovation. I’m looking forward to seeing the opportunities it creates for towns like Mansfield.
It was also exciting to hear from the Chancellor what the future of Devolution will look like through new powers being handed to Greater Manchester and the West Midlands over employment and trade, making these regions “trailblazers” for the future of devolution.
This is a huge new deal for these two areas that takes them to the next level, and it’s my firm belief that we deserve that in the East Midlands also, so I’ll be pushing for that over the coming months.
We also heard in the Budget that Mansfield will be part of a new ‘Levelling-up Partnership’, which has worked really well in the few other places it’s been done, in other towns across the north of the country.
This partnership with Government could bring something like £20 million in further funding on top of what we’ve already received, but unlike previous funds where we’ve had to submit specific bids and meet Government’s criteria, such as with plans to bring Beales back in to use, this time we seem to have more freedom to think about how we tackle local priorities. I’m looking forward to working with local partners to find the best way to use the money.
We also had some great news around investments in potholes and road repairs, with the government pledging a further £200m nationally. Nottinghamshire’s getting £3.3 million of this money, which is something like a 10% funding increase for this year, so hopefully that can help us accelerate much needed improvements.
All in all, a positive budget that will impact all parts of our region over the next few years.
I can’t wait to get all these projects to a delivery phase, to see spades in the ground and positive outcomes from all this investment. I’ll continue to lobby Government to ensure Mansfield benefits the most it can from this continued investment!