In the wake of the Coronavirus crisis, the government has come back fighting with plans to invest record amounts in the construction sector as a means to turbocharge the economy. Boris wants us to “build build build”.
On Tuesday, the prime minister Boris Johnson confirmed the government’s commitment to an immediate £5bn package of capital investment to build homes and infrastructure. This includes:
- £1.5bn spend on hospitals maintenance, eradicating mental health dormitories, enabling hospital building and improving A&E capacity
- £100m for 29 road network projects including bridge repairs in Sandwell and improving the A15 in the Humber region
- Over £1bn to fund a schools building project
- £12bn affordable homes programme to build 180,000 new affordable homes for ownership and rent over the next eight years
He also announced that a task force called ‘Project Speed’ would be set up to cut through red tape and get projects delivered faster. This included:
- A broader range of commercial buildings will be able to change to residential use without the need for a planning application
- Builders will no longer need to undertake the normal planning application to demolish and rebuild vacant and redundant residential and commercial buildings but as long as they are rebuilt as homes
- Subject to neighbour consultation, homeowners will be allowed to build additional space above their properties “via a fast track approval process”
Johnson said: “With every flood-defending culvert that we dig, with every railway station, hospital or school that we build, we will, of course, be tackling the next wave of this crisis by helping to create thousands of high-paid, high-skilled jobs.
“Because we know in our hearts that the furloughing cannot go on forever, and as the economy recovers we also know that the jobs that many people had in January are also not coming back or at least not in that form; we know that is the biggest and most immediate economic challenge that we face.”
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