Osborne to raise £5bn for infrastructure investment


Chancellor George Osborne has announced plans to boost infrastructure investment by £5bn through selling off national assets.

Mr Osborne told the Conservative Party conference in Manchester that the Government would bring forward sales of land, buildings and other assets, to raise up to £5bn over the course of this parliament.

The funds would be specifically set aside 'to help fund new infrastructure projects', Treasury officials confirmed.

With the new National Infrastructure Commission due to report by Budget 2016 on top priorities for Government investment, it is likely to suggest how this cash could be spent.

Plans to transform the connectivity of Northern cities, including building a high speed rail line dubbed HS3, running from East to West, as well as Crossrail 2 and other London projects are immediate priorities for the Commission, the Government has confirmed.

With inflation an issue for major schemes at both national and local level due to the influx of cash coming into the infrastructure sector, the cash could also give the chancellor a cushion for major schemes in danger of cost overruns

Mr Osborne also announced that there would be an airport expansion decision by Christmas.

Heathrow is the front runner to be given permission to expand after getting the nod from the Airports Commission.

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