BUDGET 2021: West of England Combined Authority reaction

March 5, 2021

The West of England Combined Authority (WECA) welcomed an extra £4.1m investment announced in the Budget to support its efforts to reduce car usage and improve air quality by getting more people to walk, cycle and use public transport.

This new money, for the year 2021-22, comes as WECA continues to develop its West of England Recovery Plan, which sets out measures to help businesses adapt to the new economic landscape and improve resilience, as well as support for residents to develop new skills, training and employment opportunities. 

Some £9.4m has already been committed to a range of programmes supporting the recovery plan, taking WECA’s total investment in businesses and skills to more than £100m over the next four years.

Regional Mayor Tim Bowles, pictured, who leads WECA – which includes Bristol, South Gloucestershire and Bath & North East Somerset councils – said: “I am really pleased to see this significant investment to fund our transport ambitions, which is only possible because we have a combined authority.

“As the West of England’s population increases, so too does the strain on our transport network. We want our region to be less reliant on cars with better air quality and more people walking, cycling and using public transport.”

He welcomed Chancellor Rishi Sunak’s Budget plans to extend the furlough and self-employment income support schemes, and give more help to cultural organisations, retail, hospitality and leisure/ tourism businesses. 

Budget initiatives to encourage more businesses to take on apprentices, provide improved training for leaders of SMEs to help their companies grow, and support the UK’s target for net zero carbon supported the aims of the recovery plan, he said.

“There have been a lot of excellent schemes announced by the Chancellor which will help support jobs and secure our region’s economy, particularly the initiatives to keep taxes low for struggling businesses and families.

“Schemes like Help to Grow will also link with my own recovery plans and make sure that the West of England is able to build back strongly.

“I am pleased to see that our vital hospitality and construction sectors will be receiving specific support as this is something that I have been calling for and the need for it has been reinforced by my Regional Recovery Taskforce.”



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