Rishi Sunak to pledge 'record-breaking' infrastructure spending in first Budget as Chancellor
Rishi Sunak will pledge to "lay the foundations for a decade of growth" by unveiling plans to spend hundreds of billions of pounds on infrastructure in his first Budget.
The new Chancellor will say the huge sum will deliver on the Tories' manifesto promise to "level up the UK" by building more houses, roads and railways, while also investing in broadband connections and research in every part of the country.
Treasury sources said it meant that by the end of this Parliament, public investment will be at its highest level in real terms since 1955.
Mr Sunak, who was only handed the Treasury's top job a month ago after Sajid Javid's shock resignation, will also unveil a package of measures to help workers and businesses affected by the growing coronavirus crisis.
However, he is keen to ensure that his Budget is not completely overshadowed by the outbreak, which threatens to plunge the world into a global recession.
The Chancellor said: "This is a Budget for people right across the country – no region will be left behind.
"We have listened and will now deliver on our promise to level up the UK, ensuring everyone has the same chances and opportunities in life, wherever they live.
"By investing historic amounts in British innovation and world-class infrastructure, we will rebalance opportunities and lay the foundations for a decade of growth for everybody."
Mr Sunak will also launch a review of capital investment, which will conclude ahead of the summer's comprehensive spending review.
But Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell accused the Tories of making "exaggerated claims" they will fail to deliver on.
He said: "The Chancellor seems to have forgotten we have to dig ourselves out of the £192 billion hole in our infrastructure spend created by his government. Boris Johnson has a track record of boastful claims followed by non-delivery and it looks like he is running true to form.
"A stronger Chancellor would have had the Treasury prevent these exaggerated claims.
"Mr Sunak is asking us to congratulate him for partially rebuilding what the Conservatives have destroyed over the last 10 years."