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Huge UK infrastructure boost

The UK government announced this week that up to 55 areas would be allocated almost £1 billion of the ‘levelling up fund’ which aims to bolster the economic growth and prospects in struggling areas. This flagship fund was created by former Prime Minister, Boris Johnson and this injection into the UK economy will give grants of around £20 million to each area selected. Levelling up secretary, Michael Gove, has stated that the move would bring “transformational change in communities that have been overlooked and undervalued”.

The previous rounds of grants had been far more complicated and received criticism from the National Audit Office for its pace and efficiency. However, Gove promised to put a far more efficient plan in place and the department also reconsidered failed projects from before. Certain areas of the UK have been allocated money for very specific developments such as Cheltenham. The town in the southwest of England has had £20 million allocated for the National Cyber Innovation Centre which will provide a hub for the digital market.

Newspapers

The UK’s front page news cycle over the last seven days has covered a wide range of topics. There has been a lot of noise regarding the return of former Prime Minister, David Cameron, back into the political fold. Everton FC have been docked a historic 10 points after breaching financial rules and UK ministers’ pledge to build 40 new hospitals by 2030 is at risk, MPs warn. Some of the newspaper front pages from this week were:

  • Financial Times- ‘Rishi Sunak says lower inflation has opened way to UK tax cuts’
  • Financial Times- ‘UK retail sales fall to two-year low as inflation-hit consumers cut spending’
  • The Guardian- ‘Autumn statement will avoid tax cuts that promote inflation, pledges Hunt’
  • The Times- ‘Sam Altman sacked by OpenAI after directors lose confidence in him’
  • Financial Times- ‘UK house prices suffer first annual fall since 2012’
  • Sunday Telegraph- ‘Brexit has boosted UK wages, say economists’

HS2s continuing struggle

The price for the London to Birmingham segment of the UK’s high speed railway line has exacerbated by £3 billion in only one month. The statement this week from rail minister Huw Merriman was that the estimate for this project had reached £57 billion, despite being at £54 billion not long ago. This large jump has come as a result of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak announcing that the leg from Birmingham to Manchester would be cancelled due to the exponential costs of the project. This has led to many reassessments to be made over the investment required in the midlands and how much the cancelling of the Manchester leg will affect the costs of the whole project. This is due to a significant part of the appeal for investors was the link between Manchester and Birmingham and this has hindered such investment.

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