Hammond to promise millions for roads

CHANCELLOR PHILIP Hammond will promise £1.3bn for road improvements in next week's Autumn Statement as he signals a further break from his predecessor.

Chancellor Philip Hammond will deliver his first Autumn Statement on Wednesday

Mr Hammond will point to figure suggesting congestion costs families £13bn every year and by 2040 will lose the economy 100m working days unless action is taken.

He also looks set to dash hopes among critics of the Government’s austerity drive that the statement will see an end to the squeeze on public spending.

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While the Chancellor is expected to set out plans for investment in infrastructure he will also make clear that efforts to reduce day to day spending must continue.

Mr Hammond will promise help for “struggling to get by” families - the group Prime Minister Theresa May has promised to focus on since entering Downing Street.

And in a break from the pattern set by George Osborne, he is expected to use his Autumn Statement to set out headline spending priorities rather than focusing on individual schemes.

The move will be seen as an attempt by Mr Hammond to return power to individual government departments rather than seeking to micro-manage from the Treasury,

James MacColl, head of campaigns at Campaign for Better Transport, said: “It’s about time that the Government recognised the dire state of our local road surfaces. There’s a £12 billion repairs backlog whilst government money has gone on new roads in recent years. The measures announced by the Government so far will do nothing to solve congestion in the long run, nor will building new roads which just move the traffic jams somewhere else. If the Government really wants to solve congestion people need genuine alternatives with better and cheaper public transport.

“We now expect the Government to back up this announcement with a ‘fix it first’ approach across the board, improving the local transport that those people who are just about managing rely on every day.”