Spending Review brings mixed expectations

 

Chancellor George Osborne is expected to announce a swathe of investment for major transport projects in today’s Spending Review, although revenue spending is in the firing line. 

Outlining financial plans for the rest of this parliament, Mr Osborne is expected to earmark £300m towards two major rail schemes, helping develop the proposed Crossrail 2 in London and HS3 between Leeds and Manchester.

There is also the possibility of £20m further spending on Transport for the North as it seeks to map out Mr Osborne’s flagship Northern Powerhouse policy, designed to provide better connections across the region.

The development of Oyster-style smart ticketing across the rail network could receive a £150m boost.

Revenue spending for the Department for Transport and the Department of Communities and Local Government will take a hit of some 30% over the next four years, under agreements already announced by the Government.

However transport capital investment is thought to have been protected by the chancellor as part of a wider commitment to improving the nation's infrastructure.

Fuel duty also looks vulnerable to a hike, after having been frozen since 2010 by the Government – a rise of 1p would raise £400m for a chancellor in pursuit of balanced books.

On local funding, transport minister Andrew Jones revealed that the DfT had 'lobbied hard for a continuation of the Local Sustainable Transport Fund.

'We had a very good return on our public money and the projects which have been delivered have been popular on a local basis,' he said.

 
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