1. Prime Minister and Chancellor welcome over 200 infrastructure projects due to start in 2014/2015
The Prime Minister and the Chancellor will visit a transport infrastructure project today to see action the Government is taking to help hardworking people and back businesses with better infrastructure being delivered on the ground.

They will highlight that, as part of this Government’s long-term economic plan to help Britain succeed, more than 200 projects in rail, road, local transport, flood defences, broadband, airport infrastructure and waste management are due to start construction in 2014/15. These include the Mersey Gateway Bridge, Sheffield Lower Don Valley and Exeter flood defence schemes and the A1 Barton to Leeming motorway upgrade, which will reduce journey times by 20 per cent.

More than 200 infrastructure projects are also due to be completed this year, including major roads such as the M6 J10A-13, Nottingham tram extension, Heathrow Terminal 2 upgrade and Gwynt y Môr Offshore Wind Farm, which is currently the largest in construction anywhere in Europe.

The projects due to start construction this year are part of £36bn of planned investment - £5bn public investment, £21bn private investment and £10bn in joint public and private investment - in infrastructure across the country that could support over 150,000 jobs in construction and many thousands more in other sectors following completion. This includes the start of a £38 billion programme of rail spending over the next five years.

In addition, there is expected to be further investment of up to £15bn in oil and gas this year.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:
“Ensuring Britain has first class infrastructure is a crucial part of our long term economic plan: supporting business, creating jobs and providing a better future for hardworking people.
“As a crucial part of our long-term economic plan, this Government is backing business with better infrastructure so that more jobs and opportunities are created for hardworking people, meaning more financial security and peace of mind for families.”
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said:
"As part of our long term economic plan we are investing in infrastructure around the country to create a more balanced, resilient economy.

“Because of the tough decisions we have taken in day to day spending, we can prioritise public investment where it is most needed and create the right conditions for private investment in infrastructure where it brings value for the taxpayer.

“So this year over 200 new projects worth an estimated £36 billion are due to start, creating thousands of jobs, securing future growth and delivering the world class infrastructure Britain deserves."

Throughout this parliament, the Government has consistently made tough decisions on day-to-day spending that have enabled the prioritisation of vital capital investment. In June 2013 the Government built on this approach by setting out a further commitment to invest in over £100 billion of capital in specific projects in the next parliament, including providing long-term funding settlements in key infrastructure sectors.

The Government has also taken radical action to unlock and stimulate private sector investment, which is expected to make up the majority of UK infrastructure investment between now and the end of the decade. This has included setting out a plan to generate a wave of new investment in our energy infrastructure through the biggest change to the electricity market since privatisation, and the provision of up to £40 billion of support for critical infrastructure projects through the UK Guarantees Scheme.

Other projects being highlighted by the Government today are:

  • Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin is visiting Birmingham New Street today to see progress on a £600million project to transform it into one of the country’s flagship rail stations.
  • Communities Secretary Eric Pickles is visiting Markham Vale, Chesterfield, Derbyshire, to highlight how investment into the Enterprise Zone there will bring businesses and jobs to the area.
  • Energy Minister Michael Fallon is visiting Nigg fabrication yard, a construction site for the Cygnus project, the largest Southern gas field in the North Sea to be approved and developed in the past 25 years. 

Response from business and industry:
Alasdair Reisner, CEO, Civil Engineering Contractors Association
(CECA), said:
“We believe that effective infrastructure is the cornerstone of a thriving economy. Our research indicates that every job created maintaining and improving our transport and utility networks supports a total of three new jobs across the economy as a whole. 
“Renewal of the country’s infrastructure could add up to 5 per cent to GDP while providing hundreds of thousands of long-term careers. We welcome the Government’s commitment to provide certainty about plans for investment, which will help ensure more efficient delivery of future works.”

Nick Baveystock, director general, Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE), said:
“Building confidence that the pipeline of projects in the NIP are being delivered is vital. A consistent programme of work creates a platform for growing the capabilities of the UK supply chain, helps ensure the nation gets full benefit from the UK’s world leading engineering skills and provides rewarding career paths for our young people. National infrastructure that is efficient, well planned and properly delivered will generate higher returns by driving higher local and national economic growth.”

Darren James, managing director, Costain, said: 
“A premier infrastructure system is vital for the nation’s success. At Costain we have a strategy focused on providing solutions which will benefit the UK for generations to come. Strong and sustainable growth can only be achieved if we in the UK are meeting our national infrastructure needs and thus providing a robust platform for future prosperity.”

Terry Hill, Arup Trustee, said:

“The Government’s clear intent to invest in infrastructure is both urgently needed and welcome and this listing of current achievements and near-term commitments is proof that the UK can deliver. Having been involved in the creation of the National Infrastructure Plan, its infrastructure pipeline and led the review of construction costs, I am delighted to see a construction industry confident enough to invest in the vital training and innovation that such an investment programme needs."