Chancellor Rishi Sunak has set out the next phase of the Government’s infrastructure plans with £100 billion of capital expenditure to help the UK economy recover from the Covid-19 pandemic and deliver on the Prime Minister’s 10-point plan for climate change, which was announced last week.
Today’s Spending Review also saw the Chancellor launch a £4bn Levelling Up Fund for local infrastructure that has ‘a visible impact on people and their communities and will support economic recovery’.
A refreshed Green Book will also better link projects and programmes to Government objectives, including on ‘levelling up’ and Net Zero.
This is supported by the new National Infrastructure Strategy outlining the Government’s long-term vision for infrastructure investment, and a new UK infrastructure bank - headquartered in the north of England - to work with the private sector to finance major new investment projects across the UK.
The Treasury will also set up its Northern headquarters next year as part of the Government’s ‘levelling up’ agenda.
Transport projects are set to benefit from the £100 billion investment with the Chancellor committing almost £19bn next year, including £1.7bn for local roads maintenance and upgrades, while multi-year funding plans will see more than £58 million invested in road and rail across the country.
To deliver the Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan for a Green Industrial Revolution, £1.9bn will be allocated for electric vehicles charging infrastructure and consumer incentives.
More than £22bn of funding has also been allocated for High Speed 2, Europe’s largest construction project.
Sunak said: "Today’s Spending Review delivers on the priorities of the British people.
"Our health emergency is not yet over, and the economic emergency has only just begun; so our immediate priority is to protect people’s lives and livelihoods.
"But today’s Spending Review also delivers stronger public services - paying for new hospitals, better schools and safer streets.
"And it delivers a once-in-a-generation investment in infrastructure.
"Creating jobs, growing the economy, and increasing pride in the places people call home."
Fare freeze and flexible season tickets needed to get people back on trains, says Campaign for Better Transport
Responding to today’s Spending Review, Norman Baker from Campaign for Better Transport said: “We welcome today’s announcement of a Levelling Up Fund and changes to the Green Book and hope that both will encourage more sustainable transport projects in the areas that need them most.
"We are disappointed that there was no mention of a long-term funding settlement for buses, or specific support for local authorities to invest in sustainable transport, both of which are needed to ensure councils and operators can plan for a transport future post-Covid.
“The failure today to announce a rail fare freeze is a huge disappointment to the millions of passengers looking to return to workplaces in the new year.
"To encourage people to get back on the train we need a fare freeze and flexible season tickets for people returning to workplaces part time.
"Without these incentives people will simply stay home, further damaging the economy, or drive to work, causing more congestion, more pollution and undoing years of work tackling climate change.
“The Government now has a number of key taxation decisions to make at the next budget, including on the future of fuel duty and road user charging, if it wants to support its green ambitions.”