Osborne to fund green projects, infrastructure and science

20 October 2010

20 October 2010 | Lindsay Clark

Amid the expected budget cuts and efficiency savings announced today, the UK Chancellor George Osborne also used the Comprehensive Spending Review to launch a multi-billion pound spending programme on infrastructure, science and green technologies.

Although it could take years for tendering to be complete, procurement professionals will be kept busy recruiting suppliers, marshalling bids and awarding contracts on behalf of the UK government.

Principal among these commitments is a decision to spend £1 billion on one of the world’s first commercial scale carbon capture and storage demonstrations on an electricity generation plant, Osborne said.

In addition, he announced £200 million for the development of low-carbon technologies, including offshore wind technology and manufacturing at port sites.

“The aim of all these investments is for Britain to be a leader of the new green economy. Creating jobs, saving energy costs, reducing carbon emissions,” Osborne told Parliament.

Infrastructure was also a winner. Network Rail will get £14 billion to support maintenance and investment and £10 billion will go on maintenance and investment in new, high-value road, regional and local transport schemes, while seeking significant cost reductions across the programme, he said.

High-speed rail lines would be built from London to Birmingham, and then to both Manchester and Leeds, with Osborne promising to bring forward legislation during this Parliament to allow the project to proceed.

In London, he also backed Crossrail and £6 billion will be spent on upgrades and capital maintenance on the London Underground network.

Meanwhile science projects received backing, including £220 million on the construction of the UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation at St Pancras and £69 million on the Diamond Light Source synchrotron facility in Oxfordshire, which aids research in biology, physics and chemistry.  

Social housing was another area of investment. The government has committed to building up to 150,000 new affordable homes over the spending review period to 2015.

The additional capital investment projects will be funded while reducing public deficit by reforms to welfare spending, together with greater efficiency in all government departments and an increase to VAT, Osborne said.

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