|The Government has announced a multi-billion investment in our roads and railways, helping to support our economic recovery and level-up infrastructure across the country.
As the country gets back to work, we are encouraging as many people as possible to avoid using public transport and instead travel by car, bike or on foot – and we want to make sure these essential journeys are as easy as possible.
That is why we are delivering a £1.7 billion infrastructure package that will improve roads, repair bridges and fill in millions of potholes across the country, as well as accelerating more than £175 million worth of work across our road and rail network, ensuring networks get the vital repairs they need while fewer passengers are using them – and locking in the environmental benefits seen over the past few months by boosting England’s charging infrastructure for electric vehicles over the next decade.
This will mean that as we slowly and cautiously reopen society and get our economy moving again, everyone will be able to benefit from smoother and safer journeys, with better connections in every part of our country for the future.
Today the Government has announced that an extra 70 million face masks will be manufactured in the UK, securing vital PPE for frontline workers and creating hundreds of domestic jobs.
In order to keep supressing the disease and be able to safely ease the social distancing measures, we need to be confident that our NHS and other frontline workers have the PPE they need to keep themselves safe, with enough supply to meet future demand.
That is why we have been working with UK industry to scale up and secure domestic PPE production, and have now reached a deal with technology company Honeywell that will allow us to manufacture 70 million more face masks for vital workers, as well as creating 450 new jobs in Scotland.
By increasing our production of homegrown PPE supplies, we are strengthening our ongoing response to the outbreak, and can be confident that our NHS will always have the resources they need to protect themselves and patients.
The Government is constructively engaging with schools, teachers and unions so that we can get children back to school as soon as possible.
The Prime Minister has set out that by 1 June at the earliest, the Government may be in a position to get primary pupils back into schools, in stages, beginning with Reception, Year 1 and Year 6 – but only if we meet our five tests, including the rate of transmission decreasing.
The Government is working closely with teachers and the unions to facilitate these plans and will draw up further guidance with them in the coming weeks. Schools are already putting in place protective measures, including ensuring pupils do not attend if they or a member of their household has symptoms, keeping children in small groups and minimising contact, and cleaning surfaces more frequently.
We have been guided by the science at all key decision points throughout this pandemic, and that continues to be the case. Pupils and staff will only return to school on 1 June if the scientific advice allows.