Chancellor pledges £100bn for infrastructure

Chancellor George Osborne is to spend £100bn on infrastructure by 2020
Chancellor George Osborne is to spend £100bn on infrastructure by 2020
Chancellor George Osborne is to spend £100bn on infrastructure by 2020
Chancellor George Osborne is to spend £100bn on infrastructure by 2020

Chancellor George Osborne is to funnel £100bn into infrastructure spending by 2020 as the National Infrastructure Commission is officially launched.

Launching the new National Infrastructure Commission, led by former Cabinet minister Lord Adonis, the Chancellor has said that infrastructure will be at the heart of next month’s Spending Review.

Chancellor Osborne said: “Infrastructure isn’t some obscure concept – it’s about people’s lives, economic security and the sort of country we want to live in. That’s why I am determined to shake Britain out of its inertia on infrastructure and end the situation where we trail our rivals when it comes to building everything from the housing to the power stations that our children will need.

“This is about jobs, growth, living standards and ensuring Britain is fit for the future. We must be the builders. At the Spending Review, I will commit to investing £100bn in infrastructure over the next five years and we are creating an independent commission to give us a long-term, unbiased analysis of the country’s major infrastructure needs.”

A suite of asset sales, which the Treasury expects to raise billions of pounds is being identified to be ploughed back into infrastructure projects, with more details to be announced at the Spending Review.

Speaking at the National Railway Museum in York alongside Lord Adonis, the Chancellor has also revealed the group that will make up the independent Commission. They are:

Lord Heseltine – the former deputy prime minister who has long championed the regeneration of Britain’s inner cities through infrastructure investment
Sir John Armitt – the former chair of the Olympic Delivery Authority, and next year’s President of the Institute of Civil Engineers
Professor Tim Besley – a former member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee and the LSE’s Growth Commission, which recommended an independent infrastructure body
Demis Hassabis – artificial intelligence researcher, neuroscientist and head of DeepMind Technologies
Sadie Morgan – a founding director of dRMM Architects and Design Panel Chair of HS2
Bridget Rosewell – a senior adviser at Volterra and former Chief Economist and Chief Economic Adviser to the Greater London Authority
Sir Paul Ruddock – chairman of the Victoria & Albert Museum and the University of Oxford Endowment

The commission will produce a report at the start of each five-year Parliament, offering recommendations for priority infrastructure projects. It will first focus on improving northern connectivity, London’s transport system and the energy demand and supply ratio.

The formation of the National Infrastructure Commission has led to renewed calls from several groups for energy efficiency to be recognised as a national infrastructure priority.

Ed Matthew, director of the Energy Bill Revolution, said: “Our homes are infrastructure too. A programme to make them highly energy efficient must be a recommendation of this Commission. It would create huge economic benefits for the UK, whilst reducing energy bills, carbon emissions and fuel poverty. No other infrastructure investment can do so much for so many.”

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