UK to spend more on military, roads, says report

Pedestrians walk past construction cranes at the Battersea Power Station office, retail and residential development in London. (Bloomberg pic)

LONDON: Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond is set to announce extra funding for the UK’s military and new investment in Britain’s roads at Monday’s budget, according to the Mail on Sunday.

Hammond will pledge to spend a further £500 million (RM2.6 billion) on the armed forces and £28.8 billion to upgrade the country’s major roads, the Mail on Sunday said, citing unidentified sources.

Tasked with delivering Prime Minister Theresa May’s pledge to end almost a decade of austerity, Hammond is also walking the tightrope of having to prepare the UK for life after the European Union when he announces his annual spending plan.

If Britain were to leave the bloc without a deal, it may need to extend austerity policies, Hammond said in an interview Sunday.

Other likely announcements include an almost 1 billion-pound funding boost for social care, a cut to business rates to help struggling high-street stores and extra spending on super-fast broadband in rural areas, the Mail on Sunday reported.

Hammond is also expected to reveal how Britain will fund a commitment to increase spending on the country’s health service by £20 billion annually from 2023.