The Conservative Party has promised billions of pounds of investment in infrastructure if it wins the election.
The manifesto committed to the National Infrastructure Plan and said the party would to respond to the Airports Commission’s final report.Its manifesto committed the party to the National Infrastructure Plan and said the party would to respond to the Airports Commission’s final report.
It set out plans to invest more than £100bn in infrastructure over the next Parliament.
Speaking at the manifesto launch in Swindon, party leader David Cameron said: “Across our country there will be university technical colleges…upgraded roads, electrified railways, High Speed 2 - and yes, let’s build that new high speed rail link between our great cities in the North too.”
The manifesto laid out plans to invest £15bn in roads and £38bn in the railway network in the five years to 2019.
It said: “This will fund the biggest investment in rail since Victorian times, and the most extensive improvements to our roads since the 1970s.”
On energy, the manifesto claimed that the party had already unlocked £59bn of investment in electricity.
However, it said the country also needed a “significant expansion” in new nuclear power, gas capacity, more green energy and more investment in UK energy sources.
The party also pledged to make Britain the best place in the world to study engineering.
Engineers generally supported the Conservative Party’s aims.
Civil Engineering Contractors Association director general Alasdair Reisner said: “It is all to be commended.
“We generally felt that the coalition government did a reasonable job towards pushing the delivery of infrastructure.
“Clearly it is important that it has to get from the page of the manifesto on to delivery on site. It is all very well and good, politicians wandering around in high viz jackets, but in order to do that they’ve actually got to release the investment for those projects to go ahead.”
ICE director general Nick Baveystock said: “Infrastructure forms the backbone of the economy and society - the Conservative manifesto rightly recognises this and many initiatives launched over the past five years are testimony to that - not least the creation of our first National Infrastructure Plan.”
Business lobby group London First was also broadly happy with the manifesto.
“We welcome the Conservatives’ commitment to investing in infrastructure, particularly the commitment to pushing forward with Crossrail 2,” said London First director of strategy and policy John Dickie.
“We would have liked a similar commitment to airport expansion, rather the simple statement that a Conservative government will respond to the Airports Commission’s final report.”
Ukip wants to axe High Speed 2
Ukip has pledged to scrap the £43bn High Speed 2 (HS2) project if it takes power - branding it a “flawed vanity scheme”.
The party’s manifesto said it would axe the rapid rail link, which is backed by the three main parties.
A bill is currently passing through Parliament to allow construction of the London to Birmingham leg of HS2, and procurement has begun for some works packages.
But Ukip’s manifesto says: “HS2 will blight thousands of homes and wreak irreparable environmental damage across large tracts of central England.
“HS2 is an unaffordable white elephant and, given other, far more pressing calls on public expenditure… not to mention the need to reduce the deficit, it must face the axe.”
Elsewhere, Ukip pledged to reopen Manston Airport in Kent to help solve the air capacity crisis in the South East.
It added that it would consider the recommendations of the Davies Commission later this summer before deciding how best to increase capacity.
Road tolls will be removed “where possible” and speed cameras only allowed where specific dangers exist.
The Climate Change Act would be repealed, along with other legislation that hampers development of traditional power stations. Taxpayer subsidies for wind and solar farms would be withdrawn, with existing contracts respected.