Transport projects put on hold by new minister

Every new transport scheme that doesn't have a firm contract in place has been put on hold by the new minister for transport, Philip Hammond, as he seeks to review the money which is being spent.

Projects worth a potential £1.6bn now face the scrap heap as plans to build bridges, ferry links and bypasses have all been halted.The suspension comes as the Government looks to make £1bn of savings through cuts - £17.2m of these savings must come out of the road safety budget, and £7.9m from money intended to alleviate urban congestion.

"I am taking this action to ensure that no taxpayers' money is spent unnecessarily on transport schemes that are now under review," said Hammond. "If we are to succeed in reducing the UK's record budget deficit, it is vital that not a single penny is wasted and we get the maximum value for money for every project."

Several of the schemes had already been given conditional approval by Hammond's predecessor, including Walton Bridge in Surrey and a ferry link to the Isles of Scilly. Other projects being looked at include the Heysham-M6 link road in Lancashire and improvements to the Reading station highway.
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