The chancellor has indicated that infrastructure such as roads and railways could be in for a spending boost in his Autumn Statement, with an emphasis on ‘modest, rapidly deliverable investments’.
Philip Hammond announced on Thursday that he would deliver the Autumn Statement, summing up the Government’s fiscal position and spending plans, on 23 November.
Chancellor of the exchequer Philip Hammond
He told the House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee that he ‘would hope that in designing a new fiscal stimulus, any sensible chancellor would seek to do as much as possible through investment that will not only deliver short-term demand stimulus but will also address longer-term, structural problems in the economy.’
Mr Hammond added: ‘I think there is a role for big, strategic projects, but they are unlikely to be ever able to contribute to fiscal stimulus because of the timelines involved.
‘Often it is modest, rapidly deliverable investments that can have the most immediate impact, particularly on the road network, but also in some places on the rail network.’
Mr Hammond emphasized that, while the new Government would no longer be seeking to reach a fiscal surplus in 2019/20, it had ‘not abandoned the intention to move to a surplus’. He added: ‘I don't think we should be cavalier about the level of the debt.’