From a correspondent:
Well, I cannot say I am breathless with excitement.
The complete list of 58 measures include 23 that relate to training and skills.
So if we had asked for a single training and skills grant from government, we would have a list of 36 measures.
The entire funding package being sought from central government is £550 million, enough to build a mile and a half of HS2 track.
By asking for £550 million, we are effectively saying we will settle for half that amount, say £250 million. Looking at the package, this will be spread over at least five years, so we are only talking of around £50 million per annum over a five year period. Every year for five years, we can expect the government to give Devon the equivalent of 200 yards of HS2 track.
£250 million is also not enough to build an 8 mile dual carriageway by-pass around Monkton.
Team Devon claim that the package will create 30,000 jobs. Which is remarkable value for an investment of £550 million. Some predict that unemployment nationally will reach 3 million post-virus, which means that if Devon’s package were to be introduced across the country at an equivalent cost of £55 billion, all unemployment in the UK would be eliminated. Rishi Sunak would write that cheque out immediately. That is less than the government borrowed in April.
Bear in mind that the package, at the same time as creating 30,000 jobs is also going to retrain an incredible 80,000 Devon citizens. So within that £55 billion Sunak will also in theory be able to retrain an astonishing 8 million of the national workforce.
Why doesn’t the Chancellor simply ask Team Devon’s economic team to run the Treasury?
So, the Team Devon package is absolute peanuts compared to what will be given to other parts of the country. We are then going to settle for much less, celebrate a pyrrhic victory and congratulate ourselves on being insulted. Almost all the money is going to be spent on training tens of thousands of Devonians who have no desire to be retrained. The A303 will remain a country lane for the foreseeable future.