The Government’s Spring Budget was presented on 21 March 2023 and contained a number of announcements related to transport, including:
- The Budget document sets out that the Government have accepted all of the recommendations of Sir Patrick Vallance’s report on the regulation of emerging digital technologies, including “accelerating legislation to bring forward the future of transport”
- New Devolution Deals have been agreed with the Greater Manchester and West Midlands Combined Authorities, including allowing “a greater role in simplifying and integrating ticketing in local transport systems”.
- £8.8bn was provided for the second round of city region sustainable funding settlements over the next five years.
- £200m was provided for pothole funding from next year.
- £200m for local regeneration projects around England.
- £161m for Mayoral Combined Authorities and Greater London were provided, with longer term funding settlements.
- £400m to be available for new “levelling up partnerships” in areas like Redcar, Cleveland and Blackburn.
- £15 million local capacity funding to support local authorities along the East West Rail route.
On science and technology, the Budget set out:
- A new R&D scheme for 20,000 SMEs in the UK, coming in from 1 April 2023 and worth around £500 million per year.
- A £1m prize for “ground-breaking AI research”, known as the Manchester prize.
- £2.5bn of investment for quantum R&D alongside the publication of a new Quantum Computing Strategy, available here.
- £20 billion of support for the early development of carbon capture usage and storage with the goal of capturing 20 to 30 million tons of CO2 per year by 2030.
Max Sugarman, Chief Executive of Intelligent Transport Systems UK (ITS UK), said: “The Chancellor’s Budget today sets out some positive news on AI, science and technology, all of which will support the UK’s ambitions to become a science superpower over the coming years. Transport can play a central role in this vision too – the UK is already home to a highly innovative intelligent transport sector, conservatively valued at £1.5bn, and with the potential to support £15bn in economic growth going forward.
“To unlock the full potential of the intelligent transport sector, the industry needs the right policy environment. This means the introduction a Future Transport Bill that supports new technologies like autonomous vehicles, drones, remote driving and e-scooters. It means shifting to a dynamic national pay-as-you-drive scheme that incentivises low carbon travel, and the roll out of smart ticketing on the rail and bus network. It requires the opening up of data from the transport network and the better integration of different transport modes, with support for Mobility as a Service schemes.
“Through investment in transport technology the UK can reduce carbon emissions, deliver more cost-effective capacity and improve safety, whilst also supporting a world-leading industry and the economic growth it provides.”