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Constructing the future

Built environment specialist Scape Group comments on the Budget

Posted by Stephanie Broad | March 27, 2016 | People, policy, politics, money

Mark Robinson, Scape Group Chief Executive, has commented on the Budget's impact on infrastructure, the Northern Powerhouse and the education sector.

“The Chancellor reaffirmed this government’s commitment to UK infrastructure, particularly the establishment of a Northern Powerhouse, but this comes alongside news of public spending cuts of £3.5 billion by the year 2019/2020,' he said. 'It’s crucial to the UK’s positioning on the global economic stage that we expand and better connect the UK’s transportation networks but the crucial question is: where will the axe fall? It will inevitably mean that the public sector is working under increased pressures and must identify even more efficiencies. Further cuts might mean that local services the public take for granted, such as regular bin collections and well-maintained leisure centres and libraries, are chipped away at even further in order to protect the absolutely essential services. Ultimately it may mean the swathe of innovative new infrastructure discussed today cannot be adequately maintained for future generations.

Mr Osborne has also put further weight behind the emerging Northern Powerhouse. The work of Lord Adonis and the National Infrastructure Commission is commendable but the Commission is still just 18 months old. My recent call for greater leadership of the Northern Powerhouse appears to have been answered through the elected ‘Northern Powerhouse mayors’ and this could be the extra driving force the Northern Powerhouse sorely needs.' 

One of the biggest news stories from this year's Budget was the announcement that every school will become an academy by 2022. One of the biggest shake-ups of the education system in recent decades, it has shone a spotlight on the pressure on school places.

“With every English school set to become an academy in the next six years, the transformation of local authorities’ relationships with our schools will be complete,' Mark continued. 'Implementation of this will be complex and policy makers need to ensure their approach to this radical change is based on the evidence that academies do provide our children with a better quality of education. We hope the change doesn’t detract from the great imperative to provide enough school places for a growing population of a sufficiently high quality.”


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