Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg

Hammond to Boost U.K. Infrastructure With Plan to Unsnarl Roads

  • Government to back $1.6 billion program to improve highways
  • Budget statement on Wednesday to focus on economic policy

Philip Hammond will set out Wednesday an investment plan to boost productivity, including a 1.3 billion-pound ($1.6 billion) program to improve British roads, in his first budget statement as U.K. chancellor of the exchequer.

As the government prepares to publish its industrial strategy in coming weeks, the chancellor will announce in his first Autumn Statement planned spending for infrastructure and innovation, as well as measures to help working families struggling to make ends meet, the Treasury said in an e-mailed statement.

Hammond also will unveil a new fiscal framework that will let the government respond to potential economic shocks as Britain negotiates its exit from the European Union. He has stressed that unlike his predecessor, George Osborne, the statement to Parliament will set a narrower goal, focused on economic policy. Wednesday’s statement, for instance, will announce top level spending decisions rather than give full details of individual projects.

The investment in Britain’s road network is part of a plan to prioritize projects that will have an immediate impact and can be built quickly, the Treasury said. Road congestion is estimated to cost households more than 13 billion pounds a year. 

His proposals will include 1.1 billion pounds to cut congestion and upgrade local roads and public transport networks, and 220 million pounds to unsnarl bottlenecks on motorways and major arteries. The Treasury will also back the National Infrastructure Commission’s recommendation to support an expressway connecting Oxford, Milton Keynes and Cambridge with 27 million pounds of funding.

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