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NCE Live News Updates 26 June 2013: Spending Review Live!

Chancellor George Osborne has announced the Spending Round 2013, which pledges government spend for the period of 2015-16. As predicted, infrastructure looks set to benefit from departmental cuts.

5pm: Civil engineers have hailed the chancellor's pledge to boost roads spending.

George Osborne said at today's Spending Round announcement that he would create the "largest programme of investment in roads in half a century" (see 12.30pm below).

Alasdair Reisner, director of external affairs at the Civil Engineering Contractors Association, said: "At the Budget, the chancellor provided an envelope of capital spending for the period from 2014/15 onwards. Since then departments have been lobbying for this money to put towards their capital programmes. While we will have to wait for details tomorrow, it is clear that the Department for Transport was the major victor in these discussions.

“Having expended considerable energy over recent months to promote the case for infrastructure, we welcome the fact that this call has been heeded, and that our sector can expect consistent positive expenditure from now until the end of the decade, helping to support the UK’s vital transport networks."

 

4.30pm: All eyes on Danny Alexander's infrastructure announcement - to be called Investing in Britain's Future - tomorrow then.

Chartered surveyors have urged the Treasury's chief secretary to make sure the capital spending is wisely allocated.

Jeremy Blackburn, director of UK external affairs at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, said: "While austerity will be with us for years, action to deliver infrastructure and housing must be the focus of the here and now. 

“Tomorrow, the chief secretary’s announcement must ensure that this funding goes where it is so desperately needed. The repair and maintenance of the transport and energy network and building of new homes should be Government’s first priority."

 

12.30pm: Spending Round 2013 as it happened:

  • Treasury chief secretary Danny Alexander will set out future infrastructure plans to the House of Commons tomorrow.
  • Chancellor George Osborne is committed to providing certainty to the energy market, with a reminder that the government will provide strike prices for low carbon sources, although no details were given on when this might be.
  • The Department of Energy and Climate Change will have its budget cut by 8% and the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs by 10%.
  • The Department for Transport is making a 9% saving in day-to-day resource spending but its capital budget is to rise to £9.5bn, and the chancellor committed to repeat that investment to 2020. That would equate to the "largest programme of investment in roads in half a century" said Osborne.
  • The London mayor will receive £9bn capital spending to the end of this decade. The Crossrail 2 scheme proposed to run from north to south London gets a mention as a project being looked at.
  • Cuts made across government will create £50bn of capital investment. Some £3bn is being committed for affordable housing. Reform, growth and fairness are the principles behind the Spending Round, says Osborne.
  • Devolution plans will reveal details of the M4 upgrade. "The Welsh resource budget will be £13.6bn, and we will shortly publish our response to the Silk Commission on further devolution of taxation and borrowing," said Osborne. "When we do so, we will be able to say more about the impressive plans to improve the M4 in South Wales that my Honourable Friend for the Vale of Glamorgan and others have been campaigning for."

(The spending review sets spending limits for central government departments and the govenrment is seeking £11.5bn in cuts. The total managed expenditure for 2015/16 will be £745bn.)

 

10.45am: Skanska has scooped a $118M (£75M) bridge project in Florida.

The Swedish contractor, which has offices in Rickmansworth, will design and build the two-lane bridge in Walton County.

The scheme will include creating a public park facility and associated road works.

Work is scheduled to start on site next month, with completion in June 2016.

 

10.30am: Away from the Spending Round, Balfour Beatty has disposed of its interest in Exeter Airport.

The construction giant sold its interest in the Devon airport to Patriot Aerospace, the aviation division of Birmingham-based Rigby Group.

Balfour Beatty chief executive Andrew McNaughton said: “We are pleased to have come to an arrangement with our JV partner and the funders that ensures the future viability of the airport for its staff and the local community it serves.”

In April, Balfour Beatty revised down its 2013 profit expectations by £50M.

 

10am: Good morning – it’s Spending Review day. Or as the Treasury are now calling it, Spending Round day.

Either way, chancellor George Osborne will at lunchtime outline how he intends to spend £740bn in the 2015-16 financial year.

This will require him to identify £11.5bn of savings from current levels of spending – themselves affected by rafts of cuts since the coalition government took power.

It is widely anticipated that funding will be announced for transport schemes – and particularly roads projects – as the coalition moves to boost growth through infrastructure work.

Return here throughout the day for the latest news on the Spending Review as it affects civil engineering, as well as your usual daily digest.

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