Boris Johnson announced a new phase in the coronavirus response today in his landmark Dudley speech, setting out plans for an "infrastructure revolution" to create jobs and stimulate an economic recovery.
The PM invoked the 1930s "new deal" of former US President Franklin D Roosevelt as he delivered a major speech at Dudley College this morning - chosen because Dudley is at “the cutting edge of green technology that is increasingly driving the UK economy”.
His announcement included £5 billion in capital investment to accelerate infrastructure projects this year, including hospital maintenance works, school building and improvements to the road and rail networks, puts infrastructure at the centre of the government's economic growth strategy.
Key announcements include:
- £1.5 billion for hospital maintenance, eradicating mental health dormitories, enabling hospital building, and improving A&E capacity
- £100 million this year for 29 projects in the UK's road network
- £10 million for development work to unblock the Manchester rail bottleneck
- Over £1 billion to fund the first 50 projects of a new, ten-year school rebuilding programme, starting from 2020-21.
- £560 million and £200 million for repairs and upgrades to schools and FE colleges respectively this year
- £142 million for digital upgrades and maintenance to around 100 courts this year
- £83 million for maintenance of prisons and youth offender facilities o £60m for temporary prison places, creating thousands of new jobs
He also earmarked £900 million for a range of ‘shovel ready’ local growth projects in England over the course of 2020/21 and £96 million to accelerate investment in town centres and high streets through the Towns Fund this year.
Mr Johnson also spoke about an 'infrastructure revolution', building infrastructure, building jobs and building healthcare through these national infrastructure projects. To protect the UK’s natural infrastructure, the Prime Minister has also committed to reforest Britain by planting over 75,000 acres of trees every year by 2025.
Pledging £40m to boost local conservation projects and create 3000 jobs, including new Conservation Rangers, and safeguard a further 2000 – training young people and others in the community to protect their local environments. Commenting on the Prime Minister’s speech, Black Country Chamber Chief Executive, Corin Crane, said:
"Today's announcements will be welcomed by many firms across the Black Country who work in the construction and manufacturing sector. They must be delivered swiftly to drive and 'ramp up' business confidence and providing meaningful opportunities for employment across the region.
"Given that the Prime Minister chose our region to launch his "New Deal" it's now up to business communities here to take full advantage of these opportunities and to drive growth in the Black Country.
"It goes without saying that the Black Country Chamber of Commerce stands ready to work with the Prime Minister and his team to make these initiatives happen as soon as possible". Commenting ahead of the Prime Minister’s speech in the West Midlands, in which he will announce a ‘New Deal for Britain’.
BCC Director General, Adam Marshall, aded:
“The infrastructure delivery plans announced by the Prime Minister are welcome, but they must take shape on the ground swiftly to give a real confidence boost to businesses and communities.
“The government must go even further over the coming days to rekindle business and consumer confidence, as part of a wider roadmap to economic recovery. This is a critical moment, and business communities need this government to be bolder than any previous government has ever been.
“In his first inaugural speech, Franklin Delano Roosevelt said 'we must act, and act quickly' and the same holds true in Britain today.”