British Prime Minister Boris Johnson has promised to shake Britain's economy out of its coronavirus-induced crisis by fast-tracking infrastructure investment and slashing property planning rules.

As Britain emerges from lockdown, Mr Johnson revealed a plan to repair economic damage and reshape the country.

"We cannot continue simply to be prisoners of the crisis," he said in an address at a college in the town of Dudley. "We must work fast because we've already seen the vertiginous drop in GDP."

With a promise to "build, build, build", Mr Johnson announced plans to speed up government infrastructure spending and "scythe through red tape" around planning to make property development easier.

The £5bn of accelerated investment will be made up of projects including hospitals, schools and roads.

New planning regulations will give greater freedom for buildings and land in town centres to change use without planning permission and create new homes from vacant and redundant buildings.

The changes are planned to come into effect by September through changes to the law.


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Mr Johnson also said he would not fund his plan to "level up" the country by attacking companies, or through a "punitive raid" on wealth creators.

He said Britain must seize the moment in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic to fix decades-old problems and narrow the productivity gap with its competitors.

"We must use this moment now, this interval to plan our response and to fix of course the problems that were most brutally illuminated in that Covid lightning flash: the problems in our social cares system, the parts of government that seemed to respond so sluggishly."

Mr Johnson's announcement follows news that the city of Leicester has been placed back in lockdown after a spike in coronavirus cases.

"Let me just say that obviously we will be in constant communication with the authorities in Leicester", Mr Johnson said.

"But also, monitoring it nationally and insuring that as and when the data changes, and the situation improves, then we will take steps to ease the measures that we have had to enforce."

He added: "I always said that there were going to be local flare-ups, and that we will deal with them locally - and that's what we are doing in Leicester, and we will do it elsewhere."