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Labour-approved projects reviewed

The Coalition has pledged to review a series of major transport and regeneration projects that were green lit during a “reckless” spending spree by the outgoing Labour Government.

Chancellor George Osborne said the funding arrangements for a number of large city transport schemes including a £235M network of electrically-powered “trolleybuses” in Leeds and a £127M expansion of the West Midlands tram network would be reviewed to assess their cost effectiveness.

Mr Osborne said the Treasury had been left to pick up the pieces of a “reckless and irresponsible spending spree in the last months of government” and that every spending decision taken in the final moments of the Labour government would be scrutinised.

Other projects up for review include a £121M extension of Manchester’s Metrolink tram network; a £19M road-widening scheme in Liverpool and a new entrance to Leeds City railway station estimated to cost some £14M.

Institute of Economic Development vice chairman Keith Burge said: “Some contracts will be difficult to get out of, and those that can be (ended) may have penalty clauses that would mean it was not worthwhile (to do so).

“The big hits will be the large capital projects, particularly transport. I think schemes like the trolleybus in Leeds will be (likely) to go.”

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