Around 150,000 construction jobs could be supported by £36Bn of investment to be made in infrastructure projects that will be started during the coming year, according to Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne.
The pair yesterday pledged that over 200 projects in rail, road, local transport, flood defences, broadband, airport infrastructure and waste management would get under way in this financial year. This includes the start of a five year, £38Bn programme of rail investment.
Projects to be started include the Mersey Gateway Bridge, Sheffield Lower Don Valley and Exeter flood defence schemes and the A1 Barton to Leeming motorway upgrade. Of the £36Bn of planned spending £5 billion will come from public investment, £21Bn from private investment and £10Bn from joint public and private investment.
Another 200 infrastructure projects are also due to be completed this year, including major roads such as the M6 J10A-13, Nottingham tram extension, Heathrow Terminal 2 upgrade and Gwynt y Môr offshore wind farm which is the largest under construction in Europe. There is also expected to be further investment of up to £15 billion in the oil and gas industry this year.
David Cameron said ensuring Britain has first class infrastructure was a crucial part of his economic plan. But Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors head of UK policy Jeremy Blackburn said the range of projects in the announcement shows that the government has yet to ‘grasp the nettle of prioritisation’.
He said: “We have long said small is beautiful – repair, maintenance and upgrade of existing infrastructure can be a driver for economic growth. This has benefits not only for local and regional construction businesses, but also for underpinning wider economic growth.”
George Osborne said: “As part of our long term economic plan we are investing in infrastructure around the country to create a more balanced, resilient economy.”