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Digital infrastructure gets a boost

5G, CAVs, R&D, SMEs all get hand-outs in the chancellor’s 2016 Autumn Statement

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£23 billion for R&D and innovation
£23 billion for R&D and innovation
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£390 million to build on Britain’s competitive advantage in low emission vehicles and the development of connected autonomous vehicles

£1billion given to catalyse private investment in fibre-based networks and support 5G trials

£400m of venture capital funds will be released through the British Business Bank

UK research, development and innovation will be boosted thanks to a new National Productivity and Investment fund which will be worth £23 billion over the next five years, said Philip Hammond in his 2016 Autumn Statement today.

 

The Chancellor also announced £390 million to build on Britain’s competitive advantage in low emission vehicles and the development of connected autonomous vehicles, He also announced a 100 per cent first year capital allowance for the installation of electric vehicle charging infrastructure.

 

Railways were given £450 million to trial digital signaling in a bid to achieve greater reliability and optimize capacity from the existing rail infrastructure.

 

The need for future transportation, business and lifestyle to be underpinned with world leading infrastructure was also addressed with a commitment of over £1billion to catalyse private investment in fibre-based networks and support 5G trials.

 

From April next year the government will also introduce 100 per cent business rates relief for a five year period on new fibre infrastructure, supporting further roll out to homes and businesses.

 

The Chancellor also backed the recommendation for an Oxford-Cambridge growth corridor with the commitment to deliver the new Oxford to Cambridge Expressway. This project is seen by many to be more than just a transport link but a transformational tech-corridor, capitalising on the world-class research capabilities of both universities.

 

There was additional money too for innovative SMEs to prevent them being snapped up by bigger companies, rather then growing to scale. An additional £400m of venture capital funds will be released through the British Business Bank, unlocking £1 billion of new finance for growing firms.

 

Commenting on the £390 million pot for low emission vehicles and CAVs, Erik Fairbairn, CEO, POD Point said, “The combination of this new investment, and the tax incentive, really is a game changer for our industry, which will essentially fuel the first wave of mass adoption of electric vehicles in the UK.

 

“It is exciting to see that the Government now clearly recognises the central role that EV can, and will play in reducing the environmental impact from transport.”

 

Responding to the Chancellor’s speech, Nick Roberts, Atkins’ UK and Europe chief executive officer, said: “The Chancellor has placed economic growth and quality of life at the heart of his infrastructure decisions. Being clear on these outcomes means that our most pressing needs around housing, roads, railways and digital networks feature at the top of the priority list, and the government can borrow a sensible amount of money to fund the improvements with a high degree of confidence that they will get a good return on their investments.”

 

He also added: ”And the commitment to become a world leader in fibre and 5G digital networks will not only make a difference to businesses and consumers in their everyday lives, it will also help enable the more technology-enabled infrastructure, such as a digital signaling and connected and autonomous vehicles, which will form a key part of our future.”

 

 

 

 

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