Alexander lays out long-term spending plans

CHIEF secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander outlined details of the government’s plans for infrastructure expenditure, during a speech on the spending review yesterday.

The announcements for capital spending affect the distribution of money already earmarked for infrastructure, rather than newly announced spending. The figures for gross investment, announced by the chancellor on Wednesday, are identical to those put forward by the Office for Budget Responsibility in March this year.

In London specifically, Alexander highlighted the rebuilding of 46 schools in a poor condition, and a number of transport improvements. The Piccadilly line and the Bakerloo line will get upgrades, along with Thameslink. Capacity will also be increased at London Bridge, Victoria and St Pancras.

Alexander set out plans to triple annual road investment by 2011, as well as a considerable jump in the size of the budget for High Speed 2 from £33bn to £42.6bn. To add to new policies on shale gas, the government will also support a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point by guaranteeing private investment.

Adam Marshall, director of policy at the British Chambers of Commerce, said: “While the numbers are nowhere near enough to overcome Britain’s infrastructure deficit, the fact that they are set out over a longer period helps. Now, ministers must focus on de-risking infrastructure investment for private money.”