Hammond finds £1.3bn for roads and public transport

 

The Autumn Statement will include an extra £1.3bn to improve Britain’s roads and public transport, including backing for an expressway connecting Oxford, Milton Keynes and Cambridge, and ‘billions’ for other infrastructure projects.

In a statement, the Treasury said infrastructure investment would be at the heart of the Autumn Statement on Wednesday, with chancellor Philip Hammond prioritising ‘investment that boosts productivity and ultimately living standards’.

”Local
Chancellor Philip Hammond

Mr Hammond will also seek to provide ‘a stable economic platform as the UK leaves the EU’, with an industrial strategy published in the coming weeks.

According to the Treasury, he will take a different approach to the Autumn Statement, ‘by announcing top level spending decisions rather than announcing full details of individual projects’ and should not be ‘doing spending departments’ jobs for them’.

Mr Hammond is said to have worked with transport secretary Chris Grayling to identify and prioritise projects that make an immediate impact.

A cash boost for local roads and transport will be part of a wider infrastructure package with Mr Hammond pledging ‘billions of pounds for projects all over Britain’.

It will include;

  • £1.1bn to reduce congestion and deliver vital upgrades on local roads and public transport networks
  • £220m to tackle pinch-points on Highways England roads
  • The acceptance of the National Infrastructure Commission’s recommendation to back an expressway connecting Oxford, Milton Keynes and Cambridge with £27m of funding

A Department for Transport source said: ‘We are building and improving roads because they are at the very heart of what makes communities work - linking people with jobs and businesses with customers.

‘Our investment will benefit motorists by making their journeys safer, quicker and less congested - whilst creating thousands of jobs across the country.’

In an article for the Observer, shadow chancellor John McDonnell claimed that the Government’s commitment to the Northern Powerhouse ‘has always been a media exercise’.

He wrote: ‘The government is only paying lip service to people in the north of England, but it can’t continue to just re-announce old schemes, it needs to deliver on them. The fact that only one in five projects in the infrastructure pipeline is in construction shows that the government has not been meeting its own promises.’

The Road Safety Foundation, which last week published a report arguing for a systematic approach to measuring and managing risks on the road network, welcomed the extra spending, but called for ‘a firm commitment to tackling high risk roads’.

 

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