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UK to boost regional transport funds as part of levelling up plan

·1-min read
People wear face masks as they stand at a bus stop following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Manchester

LONDON (Reuters) - British finance minister Rishi Sunak is set to announce a 1.5 billion-pound ($2.1 billion) funding boost for public transport in regional English cities as part of Prime Minister Boris Johnson's pledge to "level up" poorer parts of the country.

Sunak, who is due to deliver a half-yearly budget plan to parliament on Wednesday, is expected to increase the size of a five-year transport programme to 5.7 billion pounds from an initially planned 4.2 billion pounds, the Treasury said.

"There is no reason why somebody working in the North and Midlands should have to wait several times longer for their bus or train to arrive in the morning compared to a commuter in the capital," Sunak said in a statement on Saturday.

Johnson wants to channel more investment to parts of the country where many voters switched their traditional allegiances to back his Conservative Party in his 2019 election triumph.

Sunak is expected to announce on Wednesday tighter controls on day-to-day spending while excluding longer-term investment spending from new budget rules.

Extra transport funding will also be provided for Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland, the Treasury said.

($1 = 0.7277 pounds)

(Writing by William Schomberg; editing by William James)

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