Infrastructure spending must support UK industry

Responding to the Prime Minister’s announcement of £5 billion in infrastructure spending, Roy Rickhuss, General Secretary of the steelworkers’ trade union, Community said:

“We of course welcome this announcement of huge infrastructure investment but the challenge now is to ensure our steel industry and our supply chains can extract maximum benefit. A measure of success will be in how the spending is implemented.

“We should be working to a target of 100% UK content. To demonstrate the government is serious about using infrastructure spending to support our industry, then all government departments should immediately sign up to the UK Steel Procurement Charter.

“In future, all taxpayer-funded projects must report on the origin of their steel so their contribution to supporting jobs and local economies can be assessed. Our steelworkers have heard too many announcements in the past only to see contracts for steel supplies go to our competitors. Today’s news must lead to a different outcome.”

The Prime Minister was speaking in the West Midlands.

Projects in the £5bn investment plan include:

  • £1.5bn for hospital 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
  • £900m for “shovel ready” local projects in England this year and in 2021
  • £500,000 – £1m for each area in the towns fund to spend on improvements to parks, high street and transport
  • Over £1bn to fund a schools building project
  • £83m for maintenance of prisons and youth offender facilities, and £60m for temporary prison places.

The government also said it would accelerate plans for projects in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales.

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