UK ups infra spending by £3bn a year

But the increase will only come into effect from 2015-16.

UK Chancellor George Osborne announced in his Budget speech yesterday that the government wants to increase infrastructure spending by £3 billion (€3.5 billion; $4.5 billion) a year. But there’s a caveat: that money will only be available from 2015-16.

“By using our extra savings from government departments, we will boost our infrastructure plans by £3 billion a year from 2015-16. That’s £15 billion of extra capital spending over the next decade,“ Osborne pointed out. “Because by investing in the economic arteries of this country, we will get growth flowing to every part of it,” he added.

The Chancellor’s announcement comes days after UK newspaper the Guardian released an investigation saying that fewer than one in four of the government’s hundreds of national infrastructure projects across the road, rail and energy sectors will be completed during this legislature.

The newspaper went on to report that only three major road projects have started construction since the coalition government took power. It added that, during that time period, construction output has dropped by about 10 percent.

Industry reaction to the 2013 Budget was decidedly mixed, with Iain Coucher, managing director at global professional services firm, Alvarez & Marsal (and former chief executive of Network Rail), commenting that “an extra £3 billion will only help to tinker around the edges of UK infrastructure.” 

He added: “The country doesn’t need tweaks to the existing networks.”

To read more industry reactions, please click here.