Bidding starts in New Year for £4bn levelling up fund

Councils will be able to bid for project funding early next year from the Government’s new levelling up fund announced in the spending review.

The Government has committed £4bn to a new cross-departmental Fund for England. This will invest in local infrastructure that has a visible impact on people and their communities and will support economic recovery.

It has committed to release £600m in 2021-22 and will publish a prospectus for the fund and launch the first round of competitions in the New Year

Funding will be available for a broad range of high-value local projects up to £20m, including bypasses and other local road schemes, bus lanes, railway station upgrades, regenerating eyesores, upgrading town centres and community infrastructure, and local arts and culture.

It will be open to all local areas in England and prioritise bids to drive growth and regeneration in places in need, those facing particular challenges, and areas that have received less government investment in recent years.

The new levelling up funding came as the Chancellor committed to £100bn of capital spending next year and announced plans to set up an Infrastructure Bank to catalyse private investment in infrastructure projects across the UK.

The civil engineering sector is now gearing up for a busy time next year as all key market sectors start to rev up.

Chief executive of the Civil Engineering Contractors Association Alasdair Reisner said: “The vision set out by the Chancellor today is one in which investment in infrastructure is a key priority for delivering growth and creating jobs across all parts of the country.

“The creation of a National Infrastructure Bank, to be based in the north of England, will enable the strategic investment businesses and communities require.

“We are particularly pleased to see the creation of a specific ‘Levelling Up’ fund, which will enable local communities to bid for projects based on their own expertise and needs.

“The Government’s planned £100bn of capital spending next year will ensure the UK’s economic recovery from the historic impact of COVID-19 will be as swift as possible, creating jobs and growth, to the benefit of businesses and communities in all parts of the UK.”

Steve Beechey, Public Sector Director, Wates Group, said:  “As a national business with a significant footprint in the north, we are also buoyed by the renewed focus on levelling up.

“The commitment to locate important new public bodies, like the new UK infrastructure bank, in the north, combined with the levelling up fund of £4bn should provide a much-needed boost for future investment, both public and private sector, in areas which have, at times, been overlooked in the past.”

Article Courtesy of ‘Construction Enquirer’