Britain announces £30 bln infrastructure spending boost

29th November 2011, Comments 0 comments

Britain will spend £30 billion extra on major infrastructure projects over the next 10 years to stimulate economic growth, finance minister George Osborne said on Tuesday.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Osborne revealed the amount, equivalent to 35 billion euros or $47 billion, in his autumn statement before parliament.

Osborne added that the Treasury had negotiated £20 billion of the money from two groups of pension funds.

"For the first time we are identifying over 500 infrastructure projects we want to see built over the next decade and beyond," Osborne said as Britain sharply downgraded its growth outlook for next year.

"Roads, railways, airport capacity, power stations, waste facilities, broadband networks (will be built), and we're mobilising the finance needed to deliver them too," he added.

Osborne said the so-called National Infrastructure Plan would be "revenue-neutral," neither adding to borrowing nor producing extra savings.

Instead, the additional spending on infrastructure would be paid for by cuts in current day-to-day expenditure to avoid driving the deficit back up.

"Look at what countries like China and Brazil are building and you see we are at risk of falling behind the rest of the world," Osborne said.

Among the projects highlighted by the chancellor was delivering superfast broadband to 90 percent of homes and mobile coverage to 99 percent to help create an "economically vibrant countryside".

© 2011 AFP

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