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WSP responds to 2017 Autumn Budget

22 November – Following today's Autumn Budget, WSP welcomes the Chancellor’s commitment to Britain’s R&D, infrastructure, housing, and skills.

 
  • On R&D and the Transforming Cities Fund:

Rachel Skinner, Head of Development at WSP said: “The Chancellor had to deliver for people, places and the infrastructure that binds communities and business together. By committing to make the most of the UK’s innovation potential and recognising prosperity and sustainability really go hand in hand, he showed that Britain has a plan to compete and lead in the global race.

“WSP welcomes Government’s commitment to increasing the share of GDP dedicated to R&D, as well as its commitment to take the driving seat on the future of mobility. The Transforming Cities Fund provides much needed stimulus to regional transport connectivity whether that’s in Tyneside or the West Midlands and a perfect test bed for innovations in mobility. Its commitment to connected and autonomous vehicles provides further momentum to the UK’s leadership on this agenda. For this mobility revolution to get into full gear, we need to embed these technologies into all of our infrastructure planning.”

  • On housing:

Adrian Hames, Director at WSP said: “It is great to see Government promptly respond to the NIC’s report on the potential of the East West Corridor. As part of our work on the Expressway, we aim to create connected communities where local people want to live and work. We look forward to strengthened collaboration with local councils as they acquire the certainty, freedoms and resources they need to make the region an arc of prosperity, and successfully attract private sector investment. Today’s announcement of the housing deal with Oxfordshire to deliver 100,000 by 2031, and the HCA’s expended remit will provide the right stimulus to this agenda.

“Housing remains this country’s Achilles’ heel. It is unlikely that Britain can be future ready, competitive and productive, unless we provide the next generation of engineers, environmentalists, planners and apprentices with the opportunity to live and work where they chose. It will remain a challenge to deliver 300,000 homes per year, unless we opt for a different approach. As shown by our own experience of working with Transport for the North, HS2, Crossrail and Highways England, a collaborative approach to placemaking which leverages new infrastructure projects leads to better outcomes for communities.”

  • On skills and apprenticeships:

Mike Rogerson, UK Chief Operating Officer at WSP said: “We welcome Government’s continued support for the Apprenticeship Levy in today’s Autumn Budget. There is a huge skills shortage in the engineering sector despite the growing number of transformational infrastructure projects across the UK from HS2 and Crossrail to the East West Corridor. As a business, we’re huge supporters of apprenticeships and have almost doubled our intake since the levy came into force this year, with 72 apprentices joining the business across the UK in 2017. Apprenticeships enable us to attract talented young people into the sector from varied backgrounds. In spite of the leadership shown by organisations like WSP, more will need to happen to make the apprenticeship route an attractive proposition to young people in all sectors across the country.

“I’m also pleased to hear the Chancellor is open to review the flexibility of the Apprenticeship Levy going forward, as this would give us the freedom to spend our levy on even more training opportunities, from one-off courses for existing staff to refresher traineeships for those who have taken a career break, to enhance the knowledge of our growing pipeline of engineering, planning and technical talent. We look forward to a continued dialogue with Government as we explore solutions to challenges like the funding cap for engineering degree qualification delivery.”

  • On air quality: 

David Symons, Environment Director at WSP said: “We welcome the Chancellor’s strong words on the need to decarbonise transport through electric vehicles and the need to address the pressing issue of pollution caused by plastic waste. The Chancellor’s commitment to improve the country’s Air Quality Plan is a welcome step forward, and WSP is looking forward to continue working with local authorities, the Mayor of London, and the Government to improve the air we breathe. However, it is worth noting that the policy measures that cause environmental harm announced today still outweigh the good measures proposed by £3.2bn between today and 2023. And, while the £220m clean air fund is welcome, the two new taxes on diesel cars which will fund this, will actually raise £540m by 2023, which begs the question: why not announce that the entirety of those tax receipts be directed towards mitigating air pollution?

ENDS

Notes to editors

For media enquiries please contact Amelie Barrau on 07469 402 484 or amelie.barrau@wsp.com 

WSP is one of the world's leading engineering professional services consulting firms. We are dedicated to our local communities and propelled by international brainpower. We are technical experts and strategic advisors including engineers, technicians, scientists, architects, planners, surveyors and environmental specialists, as well as other design, program and construction management professionals. We design lasting solutions in the Property & Buildings, Transportation & Infrastructure, Environment, Industry, Resources (including Mining and Oil & Gas) and Power & Energy sectors as well as project delivery and strategic consulting services.

With 7,150 talented people in the UK and more than 39,000 globally, we engineer projects that will help societies grow for lifetimes to come. WSP has been involved in many high profile UK projects including the Shard, Crossrail, Queen Elizabeth University Hospital, Manchester Metrolink, M1 Smart Motorway, the re-development of London Bridge Station, and the London Olympic & Paralympic Route Network. www.wsp.com/uk

 

Contact:

Amelie Barrau
Amelie Barrau PR Manager
+44 20 7314 5000
Enfys Bosworth
Enfys Bosworth Press and Social Media Executive