March 10, 2020 / 6:38 PM / 21 days ago

UK plans to boost investment to 65-year high: Sunak

FILE PHOTO: Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak appears on BBC TV's The Andrew Marr Show in London, Britain, March 8, 2020. Jeff Overs/BBC/Handout via REUTERS/File Photo

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain will increase public investment to its highest level since 1955 in five years’ time in order to spread economic growth around the country, finance minister Rishi Sunak said ahead of his first budget statement on Wednesday.

The budget would include investment in roads, railways, broadband, housing and research, Sunak said in a statement.

An expected 100 billion-pound ($129 billion) increase in public investment over the next five years, announced before December’s election, would be a turning point for Britain after a decade-long focus to bring down its budget deficit.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised to channel investment toward poorer regions where voters helped him to a resounding election victory in December.

Sunak said he would launch a review of capital investment by the government to make sure it helps meet Johnson’s pledge to “level up” the country. Details of a new national infrastructure plan would be announced in the coming months.

Sunak has said he will also announce measures to offset the expected hit to Britain’s economy from the spread of coronavirus in his budget, the first of Johnson’s new government.

Writing by William Schomberg, editing by Andy Bruce, William Maclean

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