Before the New Year I wrote about the hundreds of millions of pounds in funding coming our way, from Levelling Up the town centre, to school rebuild programmes, and investment into new infrastructure like Warsop Leisure Hub. It’s safe to say 2023 was a big year for investing in Mansfield!
As we head into 2024, we’ll start to see plans approved and spades go into the ground for much of this investment. That said, I have a suspicion 2024 will be an even busier year!
Looking ahead to the Spring, the Chancellor is expected to use his Spring Budget to further ease the cost of living, cut taxes and deliver investment to grow our regional economies.
We already saw in the Autumn Statement last year a small part of the Government’s wider plan to cut taxes as inflation continues to fall, having halved last year, and ensure the economy continues to grow.
National Insurance has been cut by 2 per cent this month, saving the average family £450 per year. From April, the National Living Wage is set to rise to £11.44 an hour, giving a big pay rise to the lowest paid in our country.
Pensions are also protected again, with the triple lock maintained bringing much needed reassurance to Mansfield’s seniors – it’s no secret I want the Chancellor to go further on lots of this, so I’ll keep pushing Ministers to continue to keep more money in people’s pockets.
Aside from the big decisions taken in Westminster this year, people across the East Midlands will also have a big decision to make, as we elect our first ever regional mayor for Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire in May.
Over the course of the last year, funding for our new Combined Authority has grown from £1 billion to now over £4 billion! This is going to be game-changing for Mansfield residents.
This funding will put the power into our hands to improve the condition of roads, fund exciting new adult education prospects to access the high skilled jobs of the future and deliver a sensible joined up regional plan for housing, amongst so many other things.
The mayor will act as a ‘figurehead’ for many of the projects I’ve helped deliver over the last year, from our £160 million Investment Zone to our East Midlands Freeport.
Our region will have a direct line to Government – something Nottinghamshire as a county has in many ways had since I became leader of the County Council - but with billions in additional funding for key priorities!
As well as all the regional stuff that will be delivered over the coming year, at some point, probably in the Autumn, we’ll have a General Election – the first since I was re-elected Mansfield’s MP in 2019.
This year will be decisive in one way or another, with a lot of positive change, but there’s absolutely no doubt that we have a lot to be excited about, and no doubt it’s going to be busy!