What The Budget Means For London

airambulance_200314Chancellor George Osborne announced his budget (PDF) on Wednesday, and we’ve had a look to see what he said about London.

Extending the Gospel Oak to Barking Overground line to Barking Riverside may finally be on the cards. The government will work with the Mayor and GLA to develop proposals for the line — improved transport links are seen as crucial for the planned 10,800 new homes in the area. With 26,000 people expected to move in over the next 20 years, we agree. But note: this isn’t an agreement to fund the extension, just to develop a plan.

The budget also mentions the Brent Cross regeneration scheme, again with similar caveats to Barking Riverside that it’s only looking at ‘proposals’ with the GLA, and adds that it’s all “subject to value for money and affordability”. This scheme around Brent Cross and Cricklewood plans to build 7,500-10,000 new homes, transform Brent Cross shopping centre as a new town centre, create 27,000 new jobs, build a bridge for cyclists and pedestrians, new facilities for three schools and a new station on the Thameslink route. Ambitious? Yes. Exciting? We’ll say.

London’s air ambulance got funds to buy a second helicopter and keep it flying for a year — but maintenance and running costs after that will need to be met by the charity’s fundraising. They do amazing work to save lives and deserve all our support.

A £150m fund will help regenerate housing estates throughout the country, but a City Hall source told the BBC that they expect the bulk of it to go to London. The GLA has already made expressions of interest about the Aylesbury Estate in Southwark, Blackwall Reach in Tower Hamlets and Grahame Park in Barnet regeneration projects. The money will be in the form of repayable loans, so the work will be carried out by developers and other private organisations alongside councils and the GLA.

There were also a couple of mindbogglingly dull economic tweaks that will benefit development in Old Oak Common and the Royal Docks Enterprise Zone.

An indirect effect on London is the introduction of a Theatre Tax Relief, which will allow productions to claim a tax rebate on 20-25% of certain costs. The Stage quotes Julian Bird, head of Society of London Theatre, as saying: “this is an amazing thing that has been announced today. It is potentially millions of pounds of direct investment into theatre production.”

Photo by Ken from the Londonist Flickr pool

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