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Gloucestershire Business News

Johnson plans to build economy out of trouble

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said any return to austerity would be a mistake, pledging an investment in infrastructure to help the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

His remarks follow a promise of more than £1billion for major school building projects in England, together with £560million for repairs, and ahead of a speech outlining a new task force to oversee speeding up infrastructure processes.

Mr Johnson told Times Radio: "This is the time to invest in infrastructure, this is the time to make those long-term decisions for the good of the country.

"What you can't do at this moment is go back to what people called austerity. I think that would be a mistake."

The school rebuilding programmed will see £1billion spent over 10 years from September 2021 with 50 projects identified later this year.

A scheduled £200m spending on improving further education colleges will be brought forward.

Mr Johnson said: "This major new investment will make sure our schools and colleges are fit for the future with better facilities and brand new buildings."

As well as schools, the Infrastructure Delivery Taskforce - which is due to be announced tomorrow - will look at fast-tracking the building of hospital's, roads and prisons.

Known as Project Speed, it will be headed by Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

Mr Johnson told the Mail on Sunday: "We want to build our way back to health.

"If COVID was a lightning flash, we're about to have the thunderclap of the economic consequences.. We're going to be ready."

Labour and union leaders have called on Mr Sunak to extend support to prevent a looming jobs crisis.

Shadow Chancellor Anneliese Dodds called on her opposite number to continue paying higher wage subsidies to sectors of the economy hit hardest by the coronavirus pandemic.

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