UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson unveils £5bn infrastructure spending plan  

By - World Infrastructure Journal

Boris Johnson today made a major announcement about the government’s plan to get the UK economy moving again through huge investment for infrastructure, construction, jobs, healthcare, public services and skills development for the population.

Delivering his speech in the West Midlands, the Prime Minister set out an extensive post-Covid plan, emphasising the need to “build back better”, creating prosperity through new development and improving existing infrastructure, such as hospitals and schools.

Standing behind a podium emblazoned with “Build Build Build,” the government’s tagline for the initiative, the PM detailed an enormous list of recovery plans designed to help all sectors get back on their feet.

"To build the homes, to fix the NHS, to tackle the skills crisis, to mend the indefensible gap in opportunity and productivity and connectivity between the regions of the UK. To unite and ‘level up’.

"To that end, we will build, build, build. Build back better, build back greener, build back faster and to do that at the pace that this moment requires."

“We must go further, and realise that if we are to recover fully and deal with the coming economic aftershock, then this Covid crisis is the moment to address the problems that we have failed to tackle for decades,” he said.

In the speech, the PM announced that the government would revolutionise rules and restrictions around building new homes, as well as announcing greater freedoms surrounding planning permission which are expected to come into force in September.

“Decade after decade,  we have failed to build enough homes.

“This government will shortly bring forward the most radical reforms of our planning systems since the end of the Second World War,” he said.

These reforms include an easier system of turning commercial buildings into residential properties without planning applications; construction firms no longer needing standard planning applications to demolish and rebuild vacant or redundant residential and commercial buildings, and a fast-track application process for homeowners to build additional space above their properties.

"We will not be responding to this crisis with what people call ‘austerity’. The world has moved on since 2008,” he says.

Existing infrastructure projects within the UK will be accelerated, with investment going into academy schools, green transport, and increased broadband for the population.

The PM also noted that the government had not forgotten its pledge to build new healthcare infrastructure including 40 new hospitals,  and its plans to recruit 20,000 more police officers, both of which had been promised in the Conservative election campaign.

"I fully accept that there are going to be economic aftershocks, but there are also big opportunities now to take this country forward, to make investments, to make big changes," 

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is expected to reveal the details of spending and funding for the new plans next week, although the PM has not ruled out a rise in taxes.

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