Chancellor George Osborne: boosting growth by pushing a raft of major construction projects.

AUTUMN STATEMENT: UK economy 'is healing'

Published:  05 December, 2012

LONDON: Chancellor George Osborne made his Autumn Statement at 12:30GMT today, revealing the latest outlook for government finances. Here are some of the highlights for the construction sector.

"Our economy is healing," the Chancellor said. "The deficit has fallen by a quarter in just two years. And today's figures show it is forecast to continue to fall."

Admitting that the country was on a hard road, Mr Osborne added that investment was "flowing into UK gilts, instead of flying out of them".

The Office for Budget Responsibility forecasts the economy will shrink by 0.1% this year. The OBR says problems in the Eurozone will "constrain growth for several years to come".

The Chancellor said the OBR agreed that the Government is "on course" to meet its target of balancing the budget over a five-year period - that is, it has a better than 50% chance of doing so.

The Chancellor believes he can boost growth by pushing a raft of major construction projects. He will spend an additional £1bn on four road schemes: to upgrade key sections of the A1, linking the A5 with the A1, and upgrading the M25 to boost links to ports.

Plans were also unveiled for a £1bn loan and guarantee to extend the London Underground's northern line to Battersea Power Station.

Super fast broadband will be rolled out across 12 cities including Cambridge, Oxford and York, while £600m will be provided to fund infrastructure research.

A recent commitment to spend an extra £120m on flood defences was also reiterated.

The Chancellor revealed that a statement would be forthcoming by transport secretary, Patrick McLoughlin in January on plans to take HS2 to Yorkshire and the North West.

Concluding his announcements on infrastructure, he claimed the annual average spend now stood at £33bn compared to £29bn under the previous administration.

The main rate of corporation tax is set to fall by 1% to 21% from April 2014 - the lowest rate of any major Western economy. Mr Osborne said this sends out the message: "Come here, create jobs here, Britain is open for business!"

The 3p rise in fuel duty scheduled for this January is cancelled, Mr Osborne stated.

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