Transport Infrastructure Spending in North of England set to Increase Fivefold
Figures released today reveal that planned spending on transport infrastructure in the North of England could increase by up to five times if an investment plan unveiled this week gets the go ahead.
New data from construction intelligence specialists, Barbour ABI, shows £3.2 billion of planned spending on transport infrastructure in the North East, North West and Yorkshire & the Humber already, forming part of the Government’s national pipeline.
If the plan - ‘One North: A Proposition for an interconnected North’ - is given the green light, this figure would quintuple to £15 billion over the next 15 years.
The report, which has been formulated by a coalition of key northern cities including Manchester, Liverpool, Leeds, Newcastle and Sheffield, is a direct response to HS2 chairman Sir David Higgins’ original report, HS2 Plus, and the Chancellor George Osborne in his ‘Northern Powerhouse’ speech on 23 June.
It was presented at a press conference at Manchester's Beetham Tower this week (5 August) and described by the Chancellor as "affordable" and a “centrepiece" of his Autumn Statement.
Michael Dall, Lead Economist at Barbour ABI, said: “These figures clearly demonstrate the economic benefit the One North plan could bring to the North of England, creating much-needed growth and jobs and a transport infrastructure to rival that of London and the South East.
“It’s also worth remembering that these plans do not include the northern phase of HS2 worth £21.2 billion, which would undoubtedly be a game changer if it goes ahead.”
France to invest €1.8bn in Egypt’s infrastructure
France will invest a total of €1.8bn into Egypt’s infrastructure focusing specifically on upgrading the Cairo Metro, building a railway to Sudan, and developing water and energy schemes. Officials have called the investment a “major boost to bilateral cooperation”.
The Cairo Metro
Included in the financing is a concessional government loan of around €800mn to upgrade Line 1 of the Cairo Metro, introduced in the 1980s. The financing will pay for 55 trainsets for the line and is provided by the French engineering company, Alstom.
Line 6 is also due to be upgraded using further state-guaranteed loans worth up to €2bn. Bruno Le Maire said that this would be negotiated over the next six months. France and Egypt have worked in close cooperation ever since Abdel Fattah al-Sisi became president in 2014, despite differences over human rights and strong criticism of Egypt by rights activists and some foreign states.
Nine more projects over the next half a decade
A further €1bn from France’s development agency, Agence Française de Développement (AFD), aims to cover a range of other projects over the next half a decade.
These projects include a railway line between Aswan, southern Egypt, and Wadi Halfa in Sudan, as well as several projects in the renewable energy and water purification industries. Bruno Le Maire, France’s Finance Minister, said Egypt was a “strategic partner and commercial dealings with it would be developed. France will substantially increase its direct exposure to Egypt, becoming the first counter-party for government to government loans,” he said.
According to Le Maire, the AFD will also €150mn to support the construction of a universal health insurance programme. French contractors such as Vinci and Bouygues have a long history of working on the Egyptian capital’s underground system.
Talking about the relationship between France And Egypt, Le Maire concluded: “France will substantially increase its direct exposure to Egypt, becoming the first counter-party for government to government loans”.