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Boris Johnson to spend billions on infrastructure in the north

·Reporter
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson is greeted by staff, arriving back at Downing Street, after meeting Queen Elizabeth and accepting her invitation to form a new government, in London, Britain December 13, 2019. Stefan Rousseau/Pool via REUTERS
Boris Johnson greeted by staff at Downing Street after meeting the Queen and accepting her invitation to form the government. Photo: Stefan Rousseau/Reuters

Prime minister Boris Johnson is set to invest more money in infrastructure in the north via capital spending.

Following the election success, plans have been mooted for an increase in the amount spent on infrastructure in the north, with up to £80bn potentially, according to a report in The Observer..

Plans for an additional set of infrastructure spending plans were drawn up and then abandoned at the last minute, and are now being re-examined following the Conservatives’ victory, the report said.

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While a figure as high as £80bn seems unlikely, as it would see the amount promised in the manifesto quadrupled, a significant increase in capital spending could occur under the fiscal envelope outlined in the Conservative manifesto.

It included a series of measures to boost towns, including the towns fund and a “cultural capital” programme, as well as road and rail schemes.

Commenting on the proposals, a Downing Street source said: “This election was as much about delivering on the people’s priorities as it was about getting Brexit done – and the prime minister understands that.

“We will show the public, especially Labour voters who trusted us with their vote, that we will deliver on the promises we have made on helping with the cost of living, tackling crime and supporting our NHS. This starts with making sure the NHS has the funding it needs to carry on being the best healthcare service in the world. It is one of the key priorities of the people’s government.”

According to The Observer, Johnson will also put forward a bill in the Queen’s Speech enshrining spending increases to the NHS, and the laying out of Brexit legislation before parliament by Christmas.

Over the weekend Johnson visited Sedgefield in the north-east, a seat formerly held by Labour prime minister Tony Blair, which returned a Conservative MP at the UK’s election last week. During a speech in the constituency, Johnson said his party “will repay your trust” and that voters had “changed the Conservative party for the better”.

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Speaking in Sedgefield, Johnson said: “I can imagine people’s pencils hovering over the ballot paper and wavering before coming down for us and the Conservatives, and I know that people may have been breaking the voting habits of generations to vote for us.”

“Nobody wanted this election in the run-up to Christmas, but what an incredible thing you have done,” he said.

“You have changed the political landscape. You have changed the Conservative party for the better, and you’ve changed the future of our country for the better. I want to thank all the people of Sedgefield, of Bishop Auckland, of Stockton South, of Darlington – where my ancestors come from, it turns out – North-west Durham, Blyth Valley and Redcar.

“We’re going to recover our national self-confidence, our mojo, our self-belief, and we’re going to do things differently and better as a country.”