Boris Johnson has said the coronavirus crisis provided the opportunity to address problems that governments have “failed to tackle for decades”.
Delivering a keynote speech at a technical college in Dudley, West Midlands, the Prime Minister promised a spending spree to improve infrastructure across health and social care, education and transport.
“We will not be responding to this crisis with what people called austerity. This moment also gives us a much greater chance to be radical and to do things differently. To build back better and to build back bolder.
“And so we will be doubling down on our strategy. We will double down on levelling up – if you can make sense of that.”
Mr Johnson has compared his “New Deal” to president Franklin D Roosevelt’s approach to leading the US out of the Great Depression in the 1930s.
His plan is expected to include:
– £1.5 billion to be allocated this year to hospital maintenance.
– More than £1 billion for a 10-year school rebuilding programme.
– £100 million to be spent on road projects.
– £900 million for “shovel-ready” local growth projects in England during 2020/21.
“We will not just bounce back, we will bounce forward; stronger, better and more united than ever before,” Mr Johnson concluded.
Reacting to the speech, Labour’s Wes Streeting told talkRADIO that the “substance doesn’t quite match the rhetoric”.
Speaking to Mike Graham, the shadow exchequer secretary to the treasury said: “What the Prime Minister announced today wasn’t actually any new money.
“He was simply saying, here’s a whole load of things we plan to build, we’re going to bring £5 billion of that expenditure forward.”
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