Infrastructure: HS2 - green light for new rail, roads and schools
George Osborne managed several surprises on his infrastructure plans, even though the Government’s spending on roads, rail and schools as the way out of the financial crisis has been well-trailed.
Many of Mr Osborne’s announcements on these projects, such as a £1bn extension to the Northern Line to Battersea Park and a similar scheme for the Olympic Park, were genuinely new. Those two examples will also please the London Mayor, Boris Johnson, who is considered a long-term rival to Mr Osborne as David Cameron’s successor.
About one-fifth of the £5.5bn of extra capital spending will go to schools, while a further £1bn will be invested in upgrading roads such as the A1, which Mr Osborne said would bring “the route from London to Newcastle up to motorway standard”.
Mr Osborne also confirmed plans to extend the £33bn High Speed Two rail link, which will see journey times between London and Birmingham reduced to just 49 minutes, to the North-west and North Yorkshire. This has long been the plan, though Mr Osborne’s timing to confirm later phases of HS2 was notable given that it comes in the week that a series of legal challenges against the project have been launched in the High Court.
A City source suggested that this announcement proved just how reliant the Government is on infrastructure spending to dig the country out of the economic mire. One Whitehall official recently joked that the government seems hooked on quantitative easing – printing money – and capital spending, quite the opposite of what would be expected from ministers who have so often talked of austerity.
Mr Osborne also tried to quash any suggestions that this government cared less about restoring the country’s creaking infrastructure than the previous Labour administration. He went as far as to describe his infrastructure plans as “a revolution… equipping Britain to win in the global race”.
The Chancellor said that the Coalition is spending £33bn a year, against £29bn in 2005-10. However, much of Labour’s rebuilding programme, such as constructing 100 new hospitals, took place in its first two terms from 1997 to 2005.
The statement also highlighted the infrastructure investment platform, which is to be launched next year and is expected to encourage pension funds to back projects during their risky construction phase.
Malaysia Airlines plane crash exposes alarming flaw in airline security: over one billion flights made last year without stolen-passport check
International Women's Day 2014: The shocking statistics that show why it is still so important
Teacher shows sex tape featuring herself to pupils during class by mistake
Swarm of killer bees sting woman 1,000 times
Dead woman's body lay decomposing in garage for six years before she was found
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
If you're horrified by a flame-roasted dog, you should be shocked at a hog roast
Poor 'live like animals' says Boris's privately educated sister after going on 'poverty safari'
Exclusive: Impact of immigrants on British workers ‘negligible’
Vince Cable: Teachers 'know absolutely nothing' about the world of work
Ukraine crisis: Russia pledges to 'retaliate against sanctions' as Ukrainian president says Crimea vote will not be recognised
- 1 International Women's Day 2014: The shocking statistics that show why it is still so important
- 2 Australian man Rod Sommerville reacts to bite from deadly snake by reaching for cold beer
- 3 Teacher shows sex tape featuring herself to pupils during class by mistake
- 4 Singapore sting: Sky-high prices are pushing locals to the edge of affordability
- 5 Exclusive: UK banks in row over Yulia Tymoshenko 'millions'
£3360 - £16800 per annum: Randstad Education Nottingham: Cover Supervisor requ...
£6720 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Nottingham: Male and Female PE te...
£130 - £161 per day: Randstad Education Nottingham: Do you have a qualificatio...
£6720 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Nottingham: The school is much la...