Infrastructure: HS2 - green light for new rail, roads and schools

Autumn Statement

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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Account Manager / Media Sales - OTE up to £30,000

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This award-winning company, whi...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Software Developer

£40000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique & exciting opp...

Recruitment Genius: UX Consultant

£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will be working with a 8 st...

Recruitment Genius: Part-time Editor

£8000 - £12000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A unique opportunity has arisen ...

Day In a Page

A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests
Mexico: A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life

The dark side of Mexico

A culture that celebrates darkness as an essential part of life
Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde. Don't tell other victims it was theirs

Being sexually assaulted was not your fault, Chrissie Hynde

Please don't tell other victims it was theirs
A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935