Seven other key announcements from Osborne's Autumn Statement

As well as endorsing some of the recommendations of Lord Heseltine's growth review, chancellor George Osborne's Autumn Statement, delivered last week, included a set of planning and regeneration-related measures intended to help kick-start the flagging economy.

Delivering his statement, Osborne said that the measures would equip Britain to "compete in the modern global economy".

Here, Planning summarises seven key announcements from the chancellor's Autumn Statement:

1. Road schemes handed £1bn investment

The chancellor announced a £1 billion cash boost for a series of projects to improve the road network. This included £378 million to bring key sections of the A1 in the North East up to motorway standard and £157 million to build a new link between the A5 and M1 in the east of England and to dual a section of the A30 in Cornwall. The extra cash was found by asking Whitehall departments to make additional savings over the next two years.

2. £350m boost for growth fund

Osborne announced that the Regional Growth Fund, set up to create private sector jobs in areas dependent on the public sector, will be handed an extra £350 million between 2013 and 2016. The Autumn Statement document says that, in order to maximise the number of private sector jobs created, the government will "look to reflect on the successes" of previous rounds and will confirm how applicants can apply for funding in due course.

3. Northern Line extension unlocked

The government will provide guarantees to enable London mayor Boris Johnson to borrow £1 billion at a preferential rate to support the extension of the Northern Line to Battersea, Osborne revealed. Richard Ford, head of planning at law firm Pinsent Masons, said that the decision "represents a good bit of arm-twisting by the mayor of London, the key London boroughs and the private sector".

4. Empty rates exemption mooted

The Autumn Statement reveals that, subject to consultation, the government will exempt all newly built commercial property completed between 1 October 2013 and 30 September 2016 from paying a controversial tax on vacant buildings for the first 18 months. British Property Federation chief executive Liz Peace said that the announcement was a "good result", but added that the "devil will be in the detail" of the consultation.

5. No new raid on council budgets next year

Osborne announced that the Treasury will spare local authorities from a further raid on their coffers in 2013/14, but that they would be required to make two per cent of additional savings in 2014/15. Osborne said the resource budgets of Whitehall departments would be reduced by an extra 1 per cent in 2013/14 and 2 per cent in 2014/15.

6. Generation strategy set to spark 'dash for gas'

A gas generation strategy published alongside Osborne's Autumn Statement suggests that up to 37 gigawatts of new gas capacity could be required by 2030 - equivalent to more than 40 new plants. The strategy also sets out measures to support shale gas production, including plans to consult on an "appropriate fiscal regime for shale exploration". David Kennedy, chief executive of government advisory body the Committee on Climate Change, warned: "Early decarbonisation of the power sector should be plan A - and the dash for gas Plan Z."

7. School projects win private funding boost

School building projects worth £1.75 billion will be the first to benefit from a revamped version of the Private Finance Initiative, Osborne announced. The Autumn Statement document said that under the PF2 scheme, the government would become a shareholder in future projects and "will share in the financial rewards alongside private sector shareholders".


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