George Osborne made the pledge during a speech at Appledore Shipyard this morning (Friday)

Chancellor George Osborne has re-affirmed a commitment to upgrade the North Devon Link Road in the next five years.

The Conservative minister made the pledge during a speech at Appledore Shipyard today (Friday), when he revealed a £7billion plan to improve infrastructure in the South West.

When asked to indicate a time frame and the level of funding available to improve the A361, Mr Osborne said: "Conversations are happening now. The commitment is there but we need to make sure the detailed plans are there and then make sure the funding is in place.

"I don't want anyone to be in any doubt that this is a key priority."

Mr Osborne congratulated staff at the Babcock Marine shipyard on their work and promised there would be 'plenty more work' coming their way.

Other projects in the pipeline include improvements to railways such as electrifying the main Great Western line to Bristol.

Pledges were also made to increase the number of apprenticeships in the South West and to make the area more attractive to international companies.

"For too long the South West has been neglected by Governments in London and I am here to tell you not any more," said Mr Osborne.

"We will back the working people of the South West at every stage of their lives. The people of the South West have put their faith in us (at the General Election) and we will repay that faith."