Budget saw big wins for creative sector but fell short in other areas

Author - Courtney Hiles

Date published:

The Chamber’s latest column for The Journal by Marianne O’Sullivan, policy manager.

One of the main announcements for the North East in the Budget was the trailblazer devolution deal for the new North East Mayoral Combined Authority (NEMCA).

This will give NEMCA greater control over regeneration and affordable housing, the local transport system, skills and employment support.

The Chamber has welcomed this shift in power to the region which will give businesses increased influence on key drivers of local growth and allow for more bespoke employment support.

The trailblazer deal will help to support the progression of Crown Works Studio – an ambitious project spearheaded by Fulwell73 to create one of Europe’s largest film and TV studios in the North East.

This will be welcome news to our members who have been calling for the government to support the project, which is set to create approximately 8,450 jobs and deliver a significant boost to the North East’s culture, creative and tourism supply chain.

There was also positive news for the North East’s cultural sector with tax reliefs for theatres, orchestras, museums and galleries. This will have a positive impact for The Glasshouse International Centre for Music as well as the region’s museums.

Businesses have highlighted how planning delays are negatively impacting economic growth. There was some positive news in the Budget with the government providing match funding for a British Chambers of Commerce industry-led programme to increase skills and capacity in Local Planning Authorities.

But more is needed from government to ensure there is the capacity within planning departments to prevent long delays that stop businesses from investing.

There were only a limited number of announcements on transport in the Budget. For the North East there was £350,000 awarded to progress a new “strategic outline case” for the southern section of the Leamside Line, from Washington to Ferryhill. This will help to develop proposals to government, and the Chamber will continue to campaign for the full delivery of the Leamside Line.  

There was a lack of announcements in the Budget around international trade. In the Chamber’s submission to government ahead of the Budget, we highlighted the need for targeted funding and support for SMEs to grow capacity and capability to trade. Businesses also need clear guidance on the Border Target Operating Model, new Free Trade Agreements and the EU Supply Chain Directive.

While there was some very significant good news for the North East in this Budget, the Chamber will continue to campaign on behalf of our members in areas which have fallen short.

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