The Prime Minister Boris Johnson has announced a £5 billion ‘New Deal’ which puts jobs and infrastructure at the centre of the government’s economic growth strategy.
In a speech in the West Midlands, the Prime Minister underlined his commitment to ‘build, build, build’ in order to upgrade Britain’s infrastructure and skills to fuel economic recovery across the UK.
The £5 billion of capital investment projects, supporting jobs and the economic recovery, include:
- £1.5bn this year for hospital maintenance, eradicating mental health dormitories, enabling hospital building, and improving A&E capacity.
- £100m this year for 29 projects in our road network to get Britain moving, from bridge repairs in Sandwell to boosting the quality of the A15 in the Humber region. Plus £10m for development work to unblock the Manchester rail bottleneck, which will begin this year.
- Over £1bn to fund the first 50 projects of a new, ten-year school rebuilding programme, starting from 2020-21. These projects will be confirmed in the Autumn, and construction on the first sites will begin from September 2021.
- £560m and £200m for repairs and upgrades to schools and FE colleges respectively this year.
- £142m for digital upgrades and maintenance to around 100 courts this year, £83m for maintenance of prisons and youth offender facilities, and £60m for temporary prison places, creating thousands of new jobs.
- £900m for a range of ‘shovel ready’ local growth projects in England over the course of this year and next, as well as £96m to accelerate investment in town centres and high streets through the Towns Fund this year. This will provide all 101 towns selected for town deals with £500k-£1m to spend on projects such as improvements to parks, high streets, and transport.
The Prime Minister talked about an ‘infrastructure revolution’ and said: “Too many parts of this country have felt left behind, neglected, unloved, as though someone had taken a strategic decision that their fate did not matter as much as the metropolis. And so I want you to know that this government not only has a vision to change this country for the better, we have a mission to unite and level up – the mission on which we were elected last year.”
To support the ambition to ‘build build build’, in the Autumn the government will also publish a National Infrastructure Strategy which will set a clear direction on core economic infrastructure, including energy networks, road and rail, flood defences and waste.
The Government also intends to bring forward funding to accelerate infrastructure projects in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland and will work with the devolved administrations to identify where it can get spades in the ground, build our communities, and create jobs faster for citizens across the United Kingdom.
The Prime Minister also announced that the Chancellor will provide an update on the economy next week.