Vast infrastructure investment announced in Chancellor’s Autumn Statement
The UK must demonstrate that it is able 'to live within its means' if it is to avoid slipping back into recession, chancellor George Osborne said today.
Mr Osborne told the Commons that the Government 'would do whatever it takes to protect Britain from this debt storm' in Europe, while at the same time 'building the foundations for growth'.
One of his flagship announcements was a series of investments in infrastructure.
The government will see �5bn coming directly from the government over three years, another �1bn from Network Rail with Government guarantees, with a further �5bn planned in the next spending period.
Another �20bn is being unlocked from the private sector, Mr Osborne said.
He said: 'We need new superfast digital networks for companies across our country. These do not exist today.
'Look at what countries like China and Brazil are building and you see we are at risk of falling behind the rest of the world.'
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He said that for the first time the government was identifying more than 500 infrastructure projects we want to see built over the next decade and beyond.
'Roads, railways, airport capacity, power stations, waste facilities, broadband networks - and we are mobilising the finance needed to deliver them too.'
Mr Osborne said he would use 'British savings for British jobs' and had reached agreements with two major pension funds to unlock another �20 billion of private investment for modern infrastructure.
Among the projects highlighted by the Chancellor was electrification of the Transpennine Express, making the Atlantic Gateway from Liverpool a reality, and halving the bridge tolls on the Humber Bridge.
He said money would be spent on roads including the A45, A43, A42, A4 and A14. In London, projects include the Northern Line being extended to Battersea.
Money would also be spent on the M4 in South Wales and sleeper trains to Scotland.
Mr Osborne said: 'This all amounts to a huge commitment to overhauling the infrastructure of our nation. We will match it by overhauling the digital infrastructure too.'
He said the Government would deliver superfast broadband to 90pc of homes and mobile coverage to 99pc to help create an 'economically vibrant countryside'.
Mr Osborne said: 'This Government's new Regional Growth Fund for England has already allocated �1.4bn to 169 projects around the country.
'For every one pound we're putting in, we're attracting six pounds of private sector money alongside it.
'I am today putting a further �1 billion over this Parliament into the Regional Growth Fund, with support as well for the devolved administrations.
'For if we don't get the private sector to take a greater share of economic activity in the regions, then our country will become more and more unbalanced - as it did over the last 10 years.
'Government should not assume that this will happen by itself.
'We must help businesses to grow and succeed.
'We can do that at a national level too.'
For full budget coverage see Wednesday's EDP.