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Extra 1 billion for roads and Tube

An extra 1 billion for roads and a Tube line extension are among transport measures announced by Chancellor George Osborne.

But he added that an announcement about the northern extension to the London to Birmingham HS2 high-speed rail scheme, which had been expected before Christmas, would now be made in the new year.

The road schemes include a 378 million upgrade of a section of the A1 in north east England to motorway standard and improvements to the A30 in Cornwall.

The Tube line extension involves a 1 billion loan from the Government to Transport for London to fund an extension of the Northern line to Battersea Power Station in south London.

The extension will assist London Mayor Boris Johnson's plans to create 16,000 new home and 25,000 jobs in the Battersea area.

In an 157 million worth of improvements, there will be a new link between the A5 and the M1 in eastern England and a dualling of the of A30 Temple to Higher Carblake in Cornwall.

And 150 million will go on improvement work at the M25's junction 30 at Thurrock in Essex starting in 2015, while 10 million will be spent on improvements at junction 12 of the M40 in the West Midlands, starting next year.

The Chancellor also announced 270 for national and local projects to remove bottlenecks and support development, and an additional 333 million for road maintenance.

AA president Edmund King said: "We welcome the extra money for road schemes and in particular a commitment to upgrade the A1 which will boost the economy of the North East and improve safety."

Mr Johnson said he was "delighted" at the Battersea Tube extension news, adding that it would be "an incredible confidence boost for developers preparing to invest there".

Prime Minister David Cameron has already announced the Government is looking into new ways of financing road schemes. On Wednesday, the Treasury said the Government would report on progress on this in the new year.

Richard Hebditch, campaigns director for Campaign for Better Transport, said: "The Government's great plan was to use private finance to build roads. The reality is a damp squib, but other vital budgets are being cut to pay for damaging roads schemes.

"Maintaining our roads should always be the priority over new building. We're pleased the Chancellor has heeded our call for better maintenance to do just this. The 330 million earmarked for this is a start but must be used to improve conditions for cyclists and pedestrians too."

There was disappointment from airlines and the travel industry that the Chancellor decided to go ahead, as planned, with the April 2013 rise of 2.5% in the widely-unpopular air passenger duty (APD) airport departure tax.

Travel organisation Abta said APD was deterring foreign tourists and business investment, making holidays abroad more expensive and making UK goods and services less competitive.

The Airport Operators Association said it "defies belief" that "eye-wateringly" high levels of APD were persisting.

More happily for tourism, the Chancellor announced an additional 22 million for the GREAT campaign to attract more overseas visitors to the UK.

The extra money takes the campaign's funding to 30 million for 2013/14.

The news was welcomed by Culture Secretary Maria Miller, who said it meant the UK could "target even more markets around the world".

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