THE Prime Minister is set to announce his plan to accelerate £5 billion worth of infrastructure projects in efforts to soften the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis.

Speaking in the West Midlands later today, Boris Johnson will say he plans to use the pandemic to “tackle this country’s great unresolved challenges”.

The UK media has touted Johnson’s speech as something like that of former US president Franklin D Roosevelt, whose new deal policies helped America after the depression era.

However opposition parties have been highly critical of the content expected to be included in the Tory leader’s speech – with Finance Secretary Kate Forbes warning it falls “eye-wateringly short” of what is needed.

READ MORE: Kate Forbes: Request for powers has been kicked into the long grass

Meanwhile LibDem Layla Moran said the speech was like a “rehash of manifesto pledges” and Labour shadow chancellor Anneliese Dodds warned a “one-size-fits-all” approach to the economy is not what is required.

Scotland’s Finance Secretary had called on the UK Government to invest in a post-lockdown stimulus package equivalent to 4% of GDP, like Germany has done.

“The equivalent for the UK would be £80bn,” she tweeted this morning. “So, not only is £5bn eye-wateringly short of a 'New Deal', it falls short of other countries too.”

Projects included in the £5bn plan include £1.5bn for hospital maintenance which would, according to the Tories, get rid of mental health dormitories, enable hospital building and boost A&E capacity.

They also say there will be £100 million for 29 road network projects, £900m for “shovel-ready” local projects in England this year and next, £500,000-£1m for area in the towns fund to spend on improvements to parks, high streets and transport. There’s also the £1bn to fund a schools building project announced yesterday, and £83m for maintenance of prisons and youth offender facilities, as well as £60m for temporary prison places.

These changes will apply to England only, but the UK Government says it will bring forward funding to “accelerate” infrastructure projects in the devolved nations too.

The Chancellor is expected to give an update on the economy next week.

In April the UK economy shrunk by a record 20.4%, while the UK is also expected to be the state worst hit by the Covid-19 crisis in the developed world.