UK Government unveils £650bn infrastructure investment plan

Unemployment rate in Britain is now lower than the US, Canada, France, Italy, Spain and Australia

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The Government in Britain has set out a projection for how it expects to spend £650 billion ($900bn) of public and private infrastructure investment across the country over the next decade.

The latest national infrastructure and construction pipeline was launched on Monday, with the Government saying it was the most ambitious yet, and would support 425,000 jobs a year over the next four years.

The pipeline sets out how a record £650bn of private and public investment will be implemented in infrastructure projects across the country over the next 10 years, creating new opportunities for thousands of apprentices, technicians, graduates and skilled workers, the Government said, as it claimed it showed its “levelling up” agenda was working.

National infrastructure and construction pipelines from previous years have been described as giving visibility to where infrastructure investment is being made and by who.

The government said on Monday that as a result of the new pipeline, £89bn of investment would be targeted to social infrastructure to help communities through 165 education projects worth £2.5bn, including major rebuilding projects at schools and sixth form colleges.

The government was also setting out details of £30bn of planned procurements over the next 12 months in social and economic infrastructure.

It comes as the Prime Minister and Chancellor were visiting the Midlands on Monday to meet new apprentices, as the government published a new jobs update, which sets out the support provided since the pandemic began, and progress made by its “plan for jobs”.

The government said the furlough scheme had so far cost £68.5bn and had helped 11.6 million people since its inception, including protecting 910,000 jobs in Scotland, 470,000 jobs in Wales, and nearly 290,000 jobs in Northern Ireland.

The Government said its jobs plan was working, citing a doubling of the number of frontline Jobcentre staff to 27,000 work coaches in eight months, unemployment falling for six monthly releases in a row, and the forecast for peak unemployment at two million fewer than previously feared.

It said the unemployment rate in the UK was now lower than the US, Canada, France, Italy, Spain, and Australia.

And it said that so far under its plan for jobs, 63,000 young people had started a Kickstart job, more than 80,000 apprentices had been newly hired under new incentive payments, more than 138,000 people had benefited from job entry targeted support, and an average of 1,200 job seekers per week were enrolling on sector-based work academy programmes.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the Government had put in place a plan "to protect jobs and businesses in their hour of need".

"I am immensely proud to say that it is working," Mr Sunak said before the Midlands visit.

“Today’s announcement of 425,000 jobs supported per year over the next four years shows that we are sticking to that plan as we level up opportunities across the country," he said.

“But this isn’t just about numbers – our plan for jobs is also about giving people the hope and opportunity to meet their potential as we emerge from the pandemic and the economy recovers.”

The prime minister said the Government was "creating the jobs this country needs to build back better following the pandemic", from entry level roles to post-university careers.

“Business confidence is growing and thanks to the action we’ve taken we’re expected to see two million fewer people out of work," Mr Johnson said.

“We are investing in our plan for jobs because supporting people into work, ensuring they get the skills they need to get good jobs and helping businesses fill their vacancies is the best way to get the economy moving.”

The government website said the national infrastructure and construction pipeline was published annually and detailed planned infrastructure and construction investment across the public and private sectors.

The Infrastructure and Projects Authority estimates more than 425,000 people will be required annually until 2025 to deliver the planned investment of £200bn, the Government said.

Updated: September 12, 2021, 11:01 PM