Chancellor Alistair Darling’s Budget includes a range of measures to promote infrastructure investment, repair damaged roads and increase motorway capacity.
Darling also published a new infrastructure strategy to be delivered with the help a a new infrastructure bank. “In last year’s pre-Budget Report I set up Infrastructure UK, to advise on how our country can achieve these vital goals,” he said.
“Today they publish a new strategy, setting out a route-map and the investment that will be needed.
“To deliver this ambition – vital for future jobs and the health of our planet – I am setting up a new Green Investment Bank.
“It will control £2bn worth of equity. Half will come from asset sales, including the Channel Tunnel Rail Link, with the rest matched by private investment.
“This equity will unlock billions of pound more of finance from the private sector. The fund will focus first on investing in green transport and sustainable energy, in particular offshore wind power, where Britain is already the world-leader,” he said.
Darling is also setting up a £2.5bn fund to help small businesses develop technologies to transform national infrastructure. It will be part financed from from a tax on bank bonuses..
The government is also to release £100M to local authorities to combat damage to roads caused by last winter’s harsh weather. Another £285M is being set aside for projects to convert motorway hard shoulders to extra traffic lanes.
Darling also announced that:
- Progresss was being made on the sale of the Dartford Crossing.
- £60M will be made available to port developers to develop offshore wind turbine manufacturing facilities.
- 20,000 new university places will be created at a cost of £270M, with a particular focus on science, technology and engineering.
- Plans for a high-speed rail link from London to the Midlands, and then to the North and Scotland were being progressed.