Budget 2016: Chancellor George Osborne announces cash for infrastructure as government "makes northern powerhouse a reailty" and commits to Crossrail 2 and HS3

James Nickerson
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Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne Visits Crossrail Station Construction Site
Osborne thanks Lord Andrew Adonis for his reports on infrastructure (Source: Getty)

The chancellor has committed cash to develop infrastructure, after reports by the National Infrastructure Commission suggested he do so.

During the Budget, Osborne gave the green light for HS3 between Manchester and Leeds, providing more money to create a four lane M62 and develop the case for a new tunnel road from Manchester to Sheffield.

Osborne said the A66 and A69 would be upgraded too. From 2018 the Severn crossing tolls will be halved.

Read more: Adonis says Crossrail 2 will keep London moving so "we should get on with it right away"

"I said I would build the northern powerhouse ... we're making [it a reality] and rebalancing our country," the chancellor said.

Crossrail 2 will also be commissioned. Osborne said, in a gag at Jeremy Corbyn's expense, Crossrail 2 “could have been designed just for him”, as it is aimed at those “living in north London and heading south”.

Before the Budget it was expected the chancellor would make £300m available to develop infrastructure, including £80m to fund the development of plans for Crossrail 2 and £60m to draw up plans to introduce high-speed rail in the north.

Read more: HS3 rail work needs to start as quickly as possible

“The green light given today for Crossrail 2 and High Speed Rail 3 are very welcome news. However it is vital that these investments fit within a wider integrated transport strategy. At the moment major infrastructure projects are being developed in isolation and a holistic approach would better serve passengers, tax payers and businesses," said Colin Brown, director of engineering at the Institution of Mechanical Engineers.

“We suggest that government departments work together to develop a strategy to incentivise and support the private sector, eliminating practices that create congestion on the public transport network, while it remains quiet at other times," he added.

On the northern powerhouse, Osborne also announced that the government will embark on further devolution.

It will transfer new powers over the criminal justice system to Greater Manchester, while also establishing elected mayors in English counties and southern cities.