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British gov't outlines 100 bln pounds infrastructure plan to stimulate growth


08:42, June 28, 2013

LONDON, June 27 (Xinhua) -- The British government made an anouncement on Thursday on 100 billion pounds (about 152 billion U.S. dollars) in public funding for capital projects up to 2021 in a bid to stimulate growth in the weakly-expanding economy.

The chief secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander unveiled plans to spend 70 billion pounds (about 106.7 billion U.S. dollars) of investment in transport, 20 billion pounds in schools and 10 billion pounds in housing, science investment and flood defenses.

The long-term capital spending plans are aimed to improve infrastructure and also to boost economic growth. Much of the spending will not take place until after the next general election in 2015.

"In recent decades our infrastructure hasn't kept pace with the rest of the world. So, today we are committing 100 billion pounds for key projects stretching to 2021," Alexander said.

Alexander said it was the biggest investment in roads since the 1970s, and represented a trebling of annual investment.

Alexander announced that the government would invest 3 billion pounds over the next two years on an affordable housing programme, saying the money would lead to 165,000 new homes.

Specific commitments include funding for High Speed 2 (HS2), a new rail line able to run high-speed trains that will put two-thirds of northern England within two hours of London.

A total of 42.5 billion pounds (about 64.7 billion U.S. dollars) will be set aside to fund the HS2 network, which can carry trains travelling at up to 400 kilometers an hour. This is an increase on the 32 billion pound cost attached to the HS2 project already.

Communication infrastructure in the shape of superfast broadband provision will be expanded so that 95 percent of British premises will have access to superfast broadband by 2017.

The British Treasury said in a statement that the aim was to have the "best superfast broadband network in the EU by 2015", backed by an investment of 1.2 billion pounds (about 1.8 billion U.S. dollars).

Investment in education could provide up to 200 new schools and 20 new university technical colleges each year from 2015.

Also from 2015 to 2020/21 370 million pounds (564 million U.S. dollars) of funding each year would be provided for flood defense work.

Alexander also announced 10 billion pounds (about 15.2 billion U.S. dollars) of guarantees to investors in a new nuclear power station at Hinkley Point, in the south west of England. (1 pound = 1.52 U.S. dollars)

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