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Security today, prosperity tomorrow: Budget 2020

Mr Sunak also made good on his promise to level-up Britain, announcing a £2.5bn pledge for local roads over the next five years, focusing on the northwest, southwest and the east of England, all as part of a wider £600bn capital project, while investing a further £320m towards flood damage. The Chancellor, who himself is a Yorkshire MP for Richmond, also announced the approval of a generous devolution package for West Yorkshire. The region will now be able to take control of its own transport budget through the introduction of a new local mayor. This deal, and others already secured around the UK will go some way in restoring the balance and boosting the economy. However, there was little in the way of detail regarding infrastructure, and particularly transport spending, impacting northern regions.

The arrival of fiscal stimulus, adding an additional line of weaponry to help propel economic growth, should be commended given the reduced effectiveness of perpetually low interest rates, which is hurting the global banking sector, while pushing yield-hungry investors into risky assets.

Overall, Rishi Sunak’s budget was fighting a war on two fronts. The Chancellor has set out policies to assist companies, individuals and public services in dealing with the impact of the virus, while concurrently levelling-up Britain’s regions. The age of austerity may be dead, but the Northern Powerhouse concept is well and truly alive.

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