30 June 2020 | UK NEWS
Boris Johnson has unveiled new “ambitious” spending plans in a wide-ranging speech today. He said that we must “use the moment” post-coronavirus to help build up the country.
He said that the plans aim to target economic problems, increase spending on infrastructure and help schools. According to the Prime Minister, his plans are set to speed up the application of promises in the Tory Manifesto, in the context of “levelling up” the country.
The solution, he said, was to “build, build, build” the way out of the crisis, adding that he would cut the “newt-counting” red tape in the planning system to increase the speed with which infrastructure projects and homes could be completed.
Johnson’s building and infrastructure projects will hopefully “build back greener and build a more beautiful Britain”.
Before the speech today, he had announced that the new spending plans would be reminiscent of Roosevelt’s New Deal post the Great Depression. On the prospect of great spending, he said: “We will not be responding to this crisis with what people called austerity; we are not going to try to cheese-pare our way out of trouble, because the world has moved on since 2008.”
Major spending announcements included: £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 and £900 million for “shovel-ready” local growth projects in England during 2020/21.
The PM also said that some of the jobs lost from Covid would not be coming back, but he did add: “We will offer an Opportunity Guarantee so that every young person has the chance of an apprenticeship or an in-work placement, so that they maintain the skills and confidence they need to find the job that is right for them.”
Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer’s response to the speech was that there was “not much of a deal and not much that’s new”.
“We’re facing an economic crisis, the biggest we’ve seen in a generation, and the recovery needs to match that. What’s been announced amounts to less than £100 per person. And it’s the re-announcement of many Manifesto pledges and commitments, so it’s not enough.”
Starmer also highlighted that the programme did not focus on recovering the job losses that came as a result of the Covid crisis, saying: “we’re not going to argue against a recovery plan, but the focus has to be on jobs”.
The Prime Minister’s full speech can be watched here: