Transport won the race in the Whitehall dash for cash today with Chancellor George Osborne announcing big investment in roads and rail.
Mr Osborne said the Department for Transport (DfT) would make a 9 per cent saving in day-to-day spending, but receive the largest boost of any department to its capital budget, which rises to £9.5 billion in 2015/16.
The Chancellor said the Government would “look at the case for” the £12 billion cross-London Crossrail 2 project which is backed by London Mayor Boris Johnson.
Mr Osborne added that the Government would be giving Mr Johnson almost £9 billion of capital spending and additional financing power by 2020.
The Chancellor promised the largest programme of investment in roads for 50 years and in railways since the Victorian age.
Mr Osborne said that Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander would tomorrow announce details of more than £100 billion of infrastructure projects.
Schemes are thought to include a new £600 million, six-lane motorway bridge over the Mersey between Runcorn and Widnes in north west England and the upgrading of the A14 road in East Anglia.
RAC Foundation director Professor Stephen Glaister said: “Overall we welcome today’s commitment to long-term transport funding, but capital expenditure on our strategic roads is not yet back to the levels seen before the cuts started in 2011 and the reduction in resource spending risks exacerbating the pothole plague.
“You can’t kick-start an economy with back-loaded measures.
“Road schemes tend to deliver excellent value for money, but the benefits for the nation will only come if they receive the green light sooner rather than later.”
He continued: “Eighteen months ago we identified 96 major road schemes worth £11 billion which the DfT did not have the cash to progress.
“Our latest audit shows 33 have since been given the go-ahead.
“However, most are small projects and an £8 billion funding gap remains.
“If the Chancellor is looking for money, he need only look at motoring taxation.
“Unlike bus and rail passengers who are heavily subsidised, drivers contribute a net amount to the Chancellor each year - £33 billion in fuel duty and vehicle excise duty alone.”
Campaign for Better Transport chief executive Stephen Joseph said: “At first sight, the Chancellor’s announcement means big new roads carved across the countryside while potholes multiply and local buses get cut.
“Massive spending on new roads might have been in vogue 50 years ago, but what the country needs now is better management of our increasingly potholed network and to provide real choices about how to get around.
“The cuts in revenue spending will condemn us to poorly maintained roads, more expensive train fares and cuts in bus services.”