The Chancellor Rishi Sunak has unveiled today a ‘once in a generation’ investment in infrastructure in his first Spending Review, including an additional £2.2bn for schools and return to commitment to building 500 new schools in next decade.
Steve Beechey, Public Sector Director, responded on behalf of Wates Group.
The Chancellor’s announcement of a ‘once in a generation investment’ in infrastructure will be crucial as the country works to recover from the biggest economic contraction in the last 300 years.
The construction industry stands ready to start creating the thousands of new homes the country needs, building the hundreds of modern schools and colleges in which our children can be equipped with the skills they’ll need to succeed in a post-pandemic economy and addressing some of the longstanding inequalities between north and south.
As the Government’s leading partner in the provision of new schools, Wates is encouraged by the confirmation of an increase in budget and the renewed commitment to rebuild 500 schools over the next decade. Our children deserve the best possible buildings in which to learn, and we look forward to working in partnership with the Department for Education, using modern methods of construction to build state of the art buildings quickly and sustainably.
This commitment to building fairer, faster, and greener, as outlined in the new National Infrastructure Strategy, is tremendously exciting and will, we hope, encourage everyone in our sector to redouble efforts to work towards a zero-carbon future, as we at Wates are doing already.
As a national business with a significant footprint in the north, we are also buoyed by the renewed focus on levelling up. The commitment to locate important new public bodies, like the new UK infrastructure bank, in the north, combined with the levelling up fund of £4bn should provide a much-needed boost for future investment, both public and private sector, in areas which have, at times, been overlooked in the past.
Finally, as a major housebuilder and developer, Wates is naturally pleased at the announcement of the new house building fund. This new funding needs to be combined with a fundamental overhaul of our planning system, which is getting in the way of the effort to tackle the UK’s housing crisis. The simplification of the planning system cannot come soon enough.