150,000 new jobs by £36 bn projects: PM

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(London) David Cameron will return to the political fray by claiming more than 150,000 jobs could be created by £36 billion of infrastructure projects being started in the UK this year.

The Prime Minister, who has been enjoying a family holiday in Lanzarote, will join Chancellor George Osborne at one major scheme to push the Government’s economic message.

They will say that more than 200 rail, road, local transport, broadband, airport and waste management projects are due to start construction over the next year.

Flood defences are also on the list after a winter of devastating weather left several areas under water.

While Mr Cameron was away, a businessman he appointed to head a multibillion-pound quango responsible for loans to infrastructure projects was forced to step down after it was disclosed that he was bankrupt.

Tony Caplin – a former Conservative Party chief operating officer – resigned as chairman of the Public Works Loans Board (PWLB) which is responsible for £60 billion of loans.

“Ensuring Britain has first class infrastructure is a crucial part of our long-term economic plan: supporting business, creating jobs and providing a better future for hardworking people,” Mr Cameron said.

“As a crucial part of our long-term economic plan, this Government is backing business with better infrastructure so that more jobs and opportunities are created for hardworking people, meaning more financial security and peace of mind for families.”

Mr Osborne said: “Because of the tough decisions we have taken in day-to-day spending, we can prioritise public investment where it is most needed and create the right conditions for private investment in infrastructure where it brings value for the taxpayer.

“So this year over 200 new projects worth an estimated £36 billion are due to start, creating thousands of jobs, securing future growth and delivering the world class infrastructure Britain deserves.”

Another 200-plus projects are due to be completed this year.

The £36 billion estimate is made up of £5 billion in public investment, £21 billion private and £10 billion in joint funding.

Other ministers will join the push by visiting major schemes across the country.

Downing Street said the figure of 150,000 jobs was calculated using Office of National Statistics data.

Alasdair Reisner, chief executive officer of the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA), said: “We believe that effective infrastructure is the cornerstone of a thriving economy.

“Our research indicates that every job created maintaining and improving our transport and utility networks supports a total of three new jobs across the economy as a whole.

“Renewal of the country’s infrastructure could add up to 5% to GDP while providing hundreds of thousands of long-term careers.

“We welcome the Government’s commitment to provide certainty about plans for investment, which will help ensure more efficient delivery of future works.”

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