Transport and infrastructure
As well as major projects such as HS2 and Northern Powerhouse Rail, Mr Johnson said major infrastructure projects would include dualling the A1 to Scotland – first proposed in 1992 – and building the 40 new hospitals he has previously promised.
He would also “unblock the central Manchester bottleneck that delays services across the north” and fund 4,000 new zero carbon buses and a “massive new plan for cycleways”.
He said “now is the moment” to strengthen transport links between the four countries of the UK, which will include a feasibility study into a bridge between Northern Ireland and mainland Britain, Downing St confirmed.
Mr Johnson has already announced a 10-year schools rebuilding programme, with £1bn for the first 50 projects beginning next year.
A scientific superpower
Mr Johnson said that while Britain was “no longer a military superpower” it could become a “science superpower” through investment in research and development.
In an echo of John F Kennedy’s challenge to the US to be first to the Moon, Mr Johnson threw down the gauntlet to British firms to build the world’s first zero emission long-haul aeroplane.
He said: “As part of our mission to reach net zero CO2 emissions by 2050, we should set ourselves the goal now of producing the world’s first zero emission long haul passenger plane. Jet Zero – let’s do it!”
He said it was time to “end the chasm between innovation and application” by ensuring that ideas born in Britain did not end up becoming a commercial success in the US or China.
A new science funding agency will back “high risk, high reward projects” and an Office for Talent will be set up in Number 10 to make it easier for world-leading scientists and innovators to come to the UK.
An opportunity guarantee for those whose jobs won’t return
Mr Johnson admitted that there would be “tough times ahead” and that “as the economy recovers we know that the jobs that many people had in January are not coming back”.
He said: “We are waiting as if between the flash of lightning and the thunderclap with our hearts in our mouths for the full economic reverberations [or coronavirus] to appear.
He also said that “we know in our hearts that the furloughing cannot go on forever” but gave an “opportunity guarantee” to every young person to ensure an apprenticeship or in-work placement to help them gain the skills and confidence to find a new job.
Mr Johnson said the Government would help to create “thousands of high-paid, high-skilled jobs by supporting British firms that make commercial breakthroughs.
I am not a Communist
Mr Johnson admitted that his “New Deal”, inspired by Franklin D Roosevelt’s recovery plan for Depression-era America, “sounds like a prodigious amount of government intervention”, and felt the need to clarify that “I am not a Communist.”
He said that as well as clapping NHS workers, the Government also clapped “innovators, wealth creators, capitalists and financiers” but that a huge programme of State-funded schemes was “what the times demand”.
He said he wanted to head “a Government that is powerful and determined and that puts its arms around people at a time of crisis, that tackles homelessness, the inequalities that drive people to food banks”.
Wait and see on tax rises
Mr Johnson promised there would be no return to austerity to pay for his grand plans, saying “we won’t cheese-pare our way out of trouble” and said he would not stage a “punitive raid on wealth creators”.
But he did not rule out tax rises for the wealthy when he was asked how the country was eventually going to pay back the money it will have to borrow for the projects.
It was pointed out to him that Franklin D Roosevelt, author of the original New Deal on which his plans are based, had to tax the wealthy to pay for it.
He said: “I think you should really wait to see what the Chancellor has to say in the course of the next few weeks and months but I remain absolutely determined to ensure that the tax burden, insofar as we possibly can, is reasonable.”
He also hinted at possible pay rises for NHS workers, saying “we believe in investing in public services”.