Funding & Deliverability

Introduction

This section will cover some of the traditional routes to funding, an update on the funding opportunities identified in OxIS-17 and highlight emerging and new funding opportunities available for OxIS Stage 1. COVID-19 has significantly restricted the revenue streams available within the public sector, and within this report alternative opportunities available to the public sector have been identified to generate revenues that could contribute to the capital funding requirement.

This section will also cover the current, known and emerging funding opportunities, however in the period to 2040 it must be acknowledged that both the resulting impact of COVID-19 and the increased political pressure to reach Net Zero by 2050 are known factors that will impact funding opportunities. Further to this, the requirement for resilience and diversity of funding opportunities continues to be of value to reduce risk.


The Funding Gap

The total cost of the infrastructure schemes identified in OxIS Stage 1 for assessment to 2040 is £12.9 billion. Known funding for these projects currently stands at £68 million, with a further £2.8bn anticipated to be met by the private sector, resulting in a funding requirement of £10 billion.

It is recognised that the strategic infrastructure schemes included within OxIS are reflective of the infrastructure types that are generally the responsibility of the County to provide, and as such the funding requirement does not reflect the significant private sector funding that will be made in some sectors such as for energy and digital infrastructure. Even within the sectors that the county will provide infrastructure, the source of funding for some of these infrastructure projects will come from the private sector where there is a commercial opportunity.

It should also be noted that the funding requirements and gaps identified in this report are reflective of the infrastructure schemes that have been available to be assessed for OxIS Stage 1, and that where further infrastructure schemes are developed to meet needs gaps, additional funding will be required.

Known funding figures have only been included in the summary where they are certain, and as such, there are potential, unallocated, funding pots that could also contribute to these infrastructure projects that have not been included due to their current uncertainty, such as Section 106 funds or competitive bidding funds. For example, of the schemes assessed in OxIS Stage 1 to 2040, 38% of the infrastructure schemes have noted an expectation to be funded, or part-funded through Section 106 or Community Infrastructure Levy funds.

Further to this, funding policy and opportunities have been constantly transforming over the last year as the country adapts to COVID-19 and reacting to the wider impact on society and business, looking to strengthen the economy through a focus on sustainable infrastructure that will increase resilience.

A key positive is that, since the publication of the previous OxIS-17, there has been the release of the UK Governments National Infrastructure Strategy (November 2020) which outlines an increase in the level of central Government funding with a particular focus on economic infrastructure, levelling up the UK and decarbonising the economy. It is hoped that this commitment will alleviate some previous funding gaps.

One of the key learnings from OxIS-17 was the ability for a well-defined Infrastructure strategy and needs identification to support closing the funding gap through a demonstrable growth and needs case for each infrastructure project as documented by the multi-criteria assessment. The OxIS Stage 1 report has aimed to address this.

Funding Responsibility & Streams

The responsibility for constructing and maintaining Oxfordshire’s infrastructure falls upon a diverse group of public and private bodies, with an even more diverse array of funding streams.


New & Emerging Funding Streams

The twelve funding sources (shown below) provide a breadth (community, productivity, land, homes, environmental, transport & innovation) of additional opportunities to fund new infrastructure.
UK Infrastructure Bank
The Community Ownership Fund
Future High Streets Fund
Getting Building Fund
The Community Ownership Fund
Green Recovery Challenge Fund
National Home Building Fund
The Levelling Up Fund
Brownfield Land Release Fund
National Home Building Fund
Zero Emission Bus Regional Areas Scheme
Bus Back Better
Other Innovation Funding

Borrowing opportunities are also outlined in the OxIS Stage 1 Technical Report including Salix Finance, Bonds, Public Works Loan Board, tax increment financing and business rate retention schemes.

Current Scheme Funding

The funding gap has been broken down by infrastructure type excluding transport, outlining the significant funding gap in relation to Potable Water & Wastewater, Innovation & Enterprise and Education.Innovation & Enterprise shows a public sector funding gap of just 16% (£543m), the remaining funding requirement has been designated as private sector funding. The security of the private sector contributions has not been assessed and it therefore not yet guaranteed. This level of private sector and commercial investment is not reflected in other infrastructure types due to commercial sensitivities.

In some areas of infrastructure, such as Energy and Digital, the development of schemes is fully managed by the private sector. Where this is the case, it can obscure the visibility of both the funding need and the funding commitment. The result of this is that, in some cases funding for specific infrastructure will appear low if considered without the wider context. A good example of this is Digital – there is an expectation that full fibre in urban areas will be fully funded commercially by the private sector.

Commercial sensitivities also limit the degree to which schemes have been listed.

Rail represents the largest funding requirement for transport infrastructure schemes, hence rail representing half of the 10 largest schemes. Transport funding will primarily be sourced from Central Government and the DfT. DfT Capital expenditure for the South East (incorporating Oxfordshire) has averaged £2.1 per annum over 2015-2019. In the year 2019/20 this expenditure increased by 31% to £3bn.


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