Friday March 13, 2020
The Spring Budget certainly had the feeling of value-add for Essex this year.
Although dominated by coronavirus and the very necessary investment in helping the nation cope with the inevitable increase in cases, there was excellent news for the county on infrastructure – roads – and also on broadband and hospitals.
The full amount Essex received from the government was in the region of £0.5 billion and included £272 million to improve the A12 between Marks Tey and Kelvedon, which will also ‘unlock’ up to 20.931 homes as part of the North Essex Garden Community proposals.
There was also good news for South Essex and Chelmsford, with the A127 and the Army and Navy junction both receiving the green light to go on to the next stage of improvement plans.
In Harlow, there was £172 million to help develop infrastructure for the new Harlow Gilston Garden Town proposals.
Between ourselves and Hertfordshire, there is £2.1 million to fund full-fibre broadband.
And finally, the Princess Alexandra Hospital will receive its cut of £2.7 billion set aside to improve hospitals.
With all the talk of ‘levelling up’ investment across the country, it is gratifying to see Essex and the East – which makes a net return on GDP, don’t forget – benefitting in this way.
Communities can’t thrive without the right infrastructure, and neither can our economy.
So by funding infrastructure, we can get the economy motoring. In the midst of the health and financial woes caused by coronavirus, this week’s spending announcements may turn out to be even more important than we first thought.