Rishi Sunak sets out 100bn investment in infrastructure – The Guardian

Posted: November 25, 2020 at 9:54 pm

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Britains first national infrastructure strategy will deliver a once in a generation investment worth 100bn to spur the countrys recovery from the coronavirus crisis, the chancellor said on Wednesday.

Rishi Sunak set out plans for the highest sustained levels of public investment in more than 40 years as the government attempted to offset a grim economic prognosis in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The 100bn spending plans for next year are 27bn higher than for last year in real terms, and over the next four years government spending on infrastructure will rise to 600bn, Sunak said.

The infrastructure plans are designed to rebuild the economy by creating hundreds of thousands of new jobs while upgrading the countrys roads, railways and full-fibre broadband cables, and investing in green infrastructure to help create a net zero economy by 2050.

The plans promise to spread investment across the UKs regions with the help of a new national infrastructure bank, based in the north of England, to invest in infrastructure projects alongside private investors.

The bank has been created despite calls for an institution that more closely resembles the UKs Green Investment Bank, which was controversially sold off in 2017. The new bank will be aligned with the governments climate aims but will also have a broader focus on levelling up regions of the UK which have been neglected in the past.

Sunak told the House of Commons: For many people, the most powerful barometer of economic success is the change they see and the pride they feel in the places they call home.

His infrastructure strategy includes plans to help deliver 860,000 new homes by ploughing 7.1bn into the biggest ever investment in new roads, cycle lanes, community facilities and better 4G broadband across 95% of the UK by 2025 in order to support new housing developments across the country.

Alongside the infrastructure spending Sunak announced a new levelling up fund worth 4bn and changes to the guidelines used by officials to make key investment decisions, known as the Green Book, to favour projects which help support the governments levelling up agenda.

The chancellors infrastructure strategy, which was based on recommendations by Britains National Infrastructure Committee, offered little new spending for green measures after the prime minister set out his 10-point plan for a climate revolution last week which will be backed by 12bn of funding, including about 4bn of new spending commitments.

The exception was a windfall for green transport, including 120m for an extra 500 zero-emissions buses next year, and 950m to future-proof the electricity grid along motorways so that private investors can install high-powered charging hubs at every motorway service area by 2023.

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Rishi Sunak sets out 100bn investment in infrastructure - The Guardian

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November 25th, 2020 at 9:54 pm

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