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Chancellor vows to make Britain ‘fit for the future’ with new infrastructure drive

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George Osborne will use tomorrow’s Budget to give the green light to Crossrail 2 and HS3 amid major new investment in transport, housing and other vital infrastructure.

He will commit funds to a raft of projects recommended by the Lord Adonis-led National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) to deliver infrastructure fit for the next generation.

The two biggest announcements will be Government backing for the HS3 rail project between Leeds and Manchester in the Northern Powerhouse, with a full blueprint to be drawn up by next year, and Crossrail 2 in London, which will be the subject of legislation planned to be introduced in this Parliament.

Osborne said: “With the difficulties we see in the global economy, we’ve got to make Britain fit for the future.

“Now is the time us to make the bold decisions and the big investments that will help us to lead the world in infrastructure, and create jobs, push up living standards and boost our productivity for the next generation.

“That’s what my Budget this week sets out to do.”            

In a major boost for the Northern Powerhouse, the subject of a detailed report from the NIC today, there will be £300 million in the Chancellor’s Budget tomorrow for the following projects:

  • Taking forward HS3 between Leeds and Manchester with £60m to develop detailed plans to reduce journey times towards 30 minutes, as well as plans for improving links between the North’s other major cities
  • Exploring options for a Trans-Pennine tunnel between Sheffield and Manchester with £75m to develop plans, as well as looking at options to enhance the A66, A69 and the north-west quadrant of the M60
  • Delivering significant improvements to roads with £161m for Highways England to accelerate upgrades to the M62 between junction 10-12 Warrington to Eccles and junction 20-25 Rochdale to Brighouse

There will also be a major boost for infrastructure in London as the Chancellor will give the go ahead for Crossrail 2 to proceed to the next stage. It will be the first time that the Government has identified Crossrail 2 as the priority scheme for London.

There will be £80 million to fund the development of these plans, and the government will ask Transport for London to match that contribution with the aim of introducing a Crossrail 2 Bill in this Parliament.

Supporters of Crossrail 2 suggest that the new link would give London’s economy a multi-billion-pound boost, and support 200,000 new homes as well as 200,000 new jobs.

More than £250 billion has been invested in UK infrastructure since 2010 including in major road and rail schemes, flood protections and energy projects, while projects such as Crossrail and the Mersey Gateway Bridge have also seen significant construction progress.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said: “We know that good transport doesn’t just help get people around, it helps them get on.

“The National Infrastructure Commission has rightly identified these projects as transformational schemes that have the potential to further strengthen our economy. This is a major step forward for the Northern Powerhouse and Londoners alike.”

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  • Busterrabbit - 22/03/2016 12:11

    Most infrastructure spending over the past 10 years has been on rail projects in London, and now the bulk of this new money is going to Crossrail 2, plus HS2 which will again favour Londont. What about the roads, where the UK is rated alongside Namibia? Or the rest of the country?

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