A massive £21.2 billion is due to be spent on infrastructure projects in the West Midlands, new Government figures have revealed.
They include improvements to the M6 motorway, new rail stations in Birmingham and money to rebuild schools.
But more than half the funding is to be spent on the HS2 high speed rail line, running initially between London and Birmingham with future phases connecting it to Crewe and Manchester. It is unclear whether plans for the eastern section of the line, running from Birmingham to the east Midlands and Leeds, will go ahead.
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Some of the funding coming to the West Midlands includes:
- £23.3 million for new school buildings.
- £80.1m for strengthening the 620m long Tame Valley Viaduct which forms the northern end of the A38(M) Aston Expressway between Birmingham city centre and Junction 6 of the M6 motorway.
- £59.29m for a new 7.3km single carriageway road linking the northern and western parts of Shrewsbury, including a new bridge over the River Severn and its flood plain, and a new bridge over the Chester/Shrewsbury railway line.
- £26.4m for major capacity improvement to the linked junctions of Birchley Island and M5 Junction 2.
- £184.7m from the Government’s “transforming cities fund”, largely spent on extending the West Midlands Metro.
- £11.5 million to improve University station in Birmingham, including measures to reduce queues.
- £55.9m Reinstatement of passenger services and stations on the Camp Hill line in Birmingham and the line between Wolverhampton and Walsall.
- 174.3m Adding a north-facing access between the M54 and the M6 around junction 10A and 11.
- 20.4 M6 Additional capacity on junction 10, including the replacement of both bridges allowing the widening of the roundabout to four lanes.
- £191.6 m Upgrade of the M42 junction 6 near Birmingham airport, allowing better movement of traffic on and off the A45, supporting access to the airport and preparing capacity for the new HS2 station.
- £111m Introduction of smart motorways on the approaches to the M40/M42 interchange: the M40 from junction 16 and the M42 from junction 3 to 3A, plus the introduction of all-lane running to the existing smart motorway section between junctions 3A and 4 on the M42.
There’s also £10.2 billion for the first phase of HS2, running between London and Birmingham. This is the cost of work in the West Midlands, with another £10.9 billion to be spent in London.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said infrastructure spending nationwide would support 425,000 jobs a year over the next four years. He said: “From entry level roles and post university careers, we’re creating the jobs this country needs to build back better following the pandemic.
“Business confidence is growing and thanks to the action we’ve taken we’re expected to see two million fewer people out of work.
“We are investing in our Plan for Jobs because supporting people into work, ensuring they get the skills they need to get good jobs and helping businesses fill their vacancies is the best way to get the economy moving.”
However, today’s Government report suggests the West Midlands is receiving less Government support than other regions, if HS2 is excluded.
Infrastructure spending by central government in the West Midlands is set to be £170 per person from 2021-22 to 2024-25. In the North West, including the Greater Manchester area, it will be £370 per person. In fact, the only region where spending is lower is London.
Infrastructure spending by central government per person, 2021-22 to 2024-25
These figures exclude spending on so-called mega projects, which are HS2 and the Hinkley Point C power plant in England.
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