Chancellor announces support for post-Brexit future
A package of measures to support the next generation, promote economic growth, and prepare for a post-Brexit future were announced by Chancellor Sajid Javid on Monday.
The Chancellor has pledged to increase the national living wage, increase funding for infrastructure and youth services, and provide up to £4.3 billion for UK organisations – such as charities, businesses and universities – if certain types of EU funding end after Brexit.
Mr Javid said the NLW will be increased, reaching two-thirds of median earnings within five years, provided economic conditions allow. He also pledged to change the NLW – currently for people over the ages of 25 – so that it applies to those aged 23 and over from 2021, and to those aged 21 and over within five years.
In order to encourage economic growth, the government will focus on infrastructure by investing £220 million in bus services across England, which will fund new ‘superbus’ networks and expand the fleet of low-emission buses. Mr Javid also confirmed a new £500 million Youth Investment Fund is planned to help build 60 new youth centres across the country, refurbish around 360 existing youth facilities, and provide over 100 mobile facilities for harder to reach areas.
To ensure that no part of the country is left without next-generation broadband, the Chancellor pledged £5 billion to support the rollout of gigabit-capable broadband in the hardest to reach 20 per cent of the country.
Furthermore, to help drive local growth, the Chancellor announced that the government would introduce an English Devolution White Paper, which would set out how further powers and funding would be devolved across England.
If the UK leaves the EU without a deal and should the EU cease to fund UK organisations after Brexit, the government has provided a funding guarantee to organisations in receipt of certain EU program funding (such as the European Regional Development Fund and Horizon 2020). On Monday, Mr Javid confirmed that the total amount expected to be covered by the guarantee would be £4.3 billion for this financial year.