Labour and Tories compete over infrastructure spend pledges

Aaron Morby 3 months ago
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Both the Tories and Labour are pushing for big rises in public borrowing to fund ambitious infrastructure plans for the country.

In a race to outbid each other, the parties have made infrastructure spending a key battleground in their election promises.

Chancellor of the Exchequer Sajid Javid said a new Conservative government would spend up to £20bn more each year on road, rail and other infrastructure projects.

The Tories said that they would spend up to 3% of national output on investment in infrastructure going forward, up from its current level of 1.8%.

Javid said low borrowing costs for the government meant it was a responsible time for the government to relax its borrowing rules to invest.

Labour’s proposals for a new National Transformation Fund would lift current government investment spending from £47bn to at least £100bn a year, or 4% of GDP.

This would be split into two pots – a social fund and green transformation fund.

Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell promised £150bn of additional infrastructure spending through the social fund for schools, hospitals, care homes and council houses.

The longer-term green transformation fund of £250bn would be spent over 10 years, channelled into transport and energy projects like a Crossrail for the North and retrofitting homes and building more wind farms.

Labour would adopt a new fiscal rule for the next Parliament that would exclude borrowing for investment from the country’s borrowing targets.

The new looser Tory fiscal framework governing its new ‘borrow to build rules’ would be reassessed if future borrowing costs rose significantly to above average.

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