“Only one week after the Prime Minister’s 10-point plan for delivering net zero, and in spite of the highly uncertain future outlook laid out by the OBR, it’s positive to see this one-year Spending Review offer greater detail on the means by which Treasury will deliver on its infrastructure revolution.
“Clearly, the UK economy is reeling from the impact of COVID-19 and the effects of this will be felt for years to come, but the Chancellor’s willingness to leverage the power of infrastructure investment to help the country recover from the health crisis and economic downturn gives business and communities reassurance that he remains committed to the levelling up agenda and the transition to net zero.
“His endorsement of infrastructure’s ability to boost connectivity, grow local economies and regenerate town and city centres is bolstered by the launch of the Levelling Up Fund and the opening of a UK infrastructure bank in the North of England. The assurance that Government will deliver on its £100bn infrastructure investment next year will provide great stimulus to the private sector to invest in skills and collaborative tools to deliver transformational local projects across the UK.
“However, while jobs were a central aspect of today’s statement, it seems there is a missed opportunity around aligning the jobs market better with transformative infrastructure and the net zero pipeline. For the UK to achieve net zero emissions by 2050, significant advances will be required in skills and training as much as in technology, infrastructure and funding.
“The upskilling of existing workforces and the reskilling of those leaving sectors severely impacted by COVID 19 will be required to respond to the new economic opportunities of our green recovery. This is a huge opportunity for the UK, but to be a success our transition to net zero and the skills and talent required to deliver it will need a combined effort from employers, government and the education sector.”