The spending is designed to boost the flagging construction sector, and to rescue small businesses. It is hoped money spent will filter down through the supply chain.
Official announcements have already given a flavour of the types of projects that could be funded. The Department for Transport this week said it was fast-tracking the dualling of a 15km section of the A11, bringing forward the start of works by 18 months to autumn 2010.
Gifford director Adrian Palmer said the announcement was not isolated. "The Highways Agency has been more or less dormant for two years, but we are now seeing signs that it is bringing forward projects in addition to Active Traffic Management (News last week)."
The Department for Communities and Local Government has also approached Regional Development Agencies, asking for details of schemes that could be brought forward quickly. The Conservatives took the same route in the early 1990s, recognising that is better to have people in work, constructing and paying taxes than spending tax revenue on the unemployed.