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Chancellor urges Chinese investment in infrastructure

Chancellor urges Chinese investment in infrastructure

Chancellor George Osborne has used an official visit to China to encourage local investors to fund a variety of major infrastructure projects, many of which would be part of the Conservatives’ much-discussed plans for a “Northern Powerhouse”.There are contracts worth over £24 billion on offer for Chinese financial backers, including aspects of the first stage of the High Speed Two project, a redevelopment of a key retail area in Sheffield, a city centre makeover for Leeds, as well as a £3 billion plan to build 10,000 homes in Manchester.The news may reassure construction companies who were concerned that little would come of the government’s promises to invest in the North, particularly after a number of high-profile transport projects were put on hold.With a number of council leaders from northern England in his delegation, Mr Osborne said: “As we continue to work more closely with China, we have an unprecedented opportunity to secure significant investment into some of our most ambitious projects across our Northern Powerhouse.“From Liverpool to Newcastle, we are opening up our doors to investment that will not only help us to grow and create jobs, but will allow us to build infrastructure to rival any region in the world.”The chancellor’s choice of Chengdu for these announcements is also significant, as the city has established a particular link with Sheffield, which has been its sister city since 2010. This has provided a boost to the culture and economics of both cities, according to Mr Osborne.While there have been recent concerns about China’s economic resilience following the repeated devaluation of the yuan, it is possible that this vote of confidence from Mr Osborne and the UK government may help to reassure international markets, further boosting the country’s prospects.Further business investments are expected to be announced when the Chinese president Xi Jinping pays a state visit to the UK in October, although it is not clear what these will be. 

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