‘Project Speed’ task force to be set up to fast track UK's post-Covid economic recovery

Prime Minister Boris Johnson is to announce the setting-up of the infrastructure delivery taskforce Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA

A 'Project Speed' task force designed to fast track major building projects across the country and fuel the UK’s economic recover, is to be announced by the Prime Minister.

Boris Johnson will use a speech on Tuesday to announce the creation of a taskforce to accelerate the building of schools, hospitals, roads and even prisons.

The Prime Minister's vision for the country’s post-Covid revival was inspired by the national coronavirus response, No. 10 said.

Downing Street said the pace at which the NHS Nightingale hospitals were created across the country was behind Mr Johnson's idea to set up the infrastructure delivery taskforce, which will be chaired by Chancellor Rishi Sunak.

The group will be told that there are “now no excuses for delays” to building programmes after the country demonstrated it can move at pace during a national emergency.

The Elizabeth Line in London is one of the most ambitious construction projects. Credit: PA

The body will sift through the blueprints of major infrastructure projects in the pipeline and look to iron out any inefficiencies which could hold-up their delivery and stall the country in getting back on track.

Known as “Project Speed” among officials, the taskforce will asked to assess building programmes in every city, town and village to ensure communities across the country can benefit more quickly from the improvements that infrastructure brings, Government sources said.

“The coronavirus response has shown that it doesn’t have to take years to get essential projects off the ground – the Nightingale hospitals and ventilator challenge were up and running in a matter of weeks,” said a Downing Street spokesman.

“As we recover from the pandemic we must apply that same urgency to the major projects at the foundations of this country and get them done right, to truly level up opportunity across the UK.

The speed at which the NHS Nightingale hospitals were built has inspired Boris Johnson’s plan to fast track the UK’s major infrastructure projects Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA

“There’s now no excuse for delays. Infrastructure has the power to rebuild and repair our country – and we will do it better, faster and more strategically than before.”

The Government hopes a building boom will boost jobs and improve connectivity as it looks to drive an economic recovery after the pandemic.

Multiple reports suggest Mr Johnson is preparing to unveil “billions” of pounds of funding next week as he looks to deliver on election pledges, which include paying for 40 new hospitals, 10,000 prison places and a school rebuilding programme.

Officials said Mr Johnson wanted to reclaim the UK’s “proud heritage” of building outstanding infrastructure, pointing to the way Victorians pioneered the railways and the ingenuity of the Thames Barrier that protects millions of Londoners from flooding.

It comes as reports suggested a further one million people could become jobless if further Government support is not announced by August, adding to the £2.8 million already out of work.

The Observer reported that new House of Commons Library analysis indicated that unemployment levels could soar to levels not seen since the 1980s, tipping past the peak of 3.3 million seen in 1984 under Margaret Thatcher’s reign.