By Daniel Hunter
The Middle East state of Qatar have haled talks with ministers considering plans to invest up to £10 billion in UK infrastructure projects.
Any investment would be a much-needed boon for the economy, with initial reports suggesting proposals for a dedicated fund to invest in UK road, rail and energy schemes.
It is important to stress that discussions are at a very early stage and there is little prospect of any concrete announcements in next week's Budget.
The Treasury has put infrastructure at the heart of its drive for growth, but does not want to jeopardise the public finances by paying for the projects with state funds, and has had limited success to date in securing private sector investment.
A major commitment from gas rich Qatar could prove transformational in getting building work off the ground, if a deal can be struck soon.
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