George Osbourne has launched the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) to oversee £100bn of spending on infrastructure projects.
The commission will be led by former transport secretary Lord Adonis, and other members will include Sir John Armitt, Sir Paul Ruddock, Sadie Morgan, Tim Besley, Demis Hassavis, and Bridget Rosewall.
“The UK has always been seen as a pioneer in infrastructure, yet it is fair to say in recent years we have lagged behind, affecting not only investment in major construction projects at a UK level but also affecting the how we are viewed as a potential investment source by overseas investors. The NIC should help to drive infrastructure projects forward, which will have a positive impact on other projects and the UK economy.” Mr Osboune said.
The launch has been welcomed by the industry, including ASSA ABLOY UK Specification, a division of ASSA ABLOY UK, the global leader in door opening solutions. The money is expected to be utilised by 2020, and more details of the projects that will receive government backing will be announced at next month’s spending review.
The NIC will focus on vital projects, such as a £15bn road investment strategy, London transport improvements expected to form part of Crossrail 2, energy projects, better links between cities and the north and other road, rail, and flood defence improvements.
David Wigglesworth, Managing Director of ASSA ABLOY UK Specification, said: “Most UK companies and indeed foreign investors will welcome any commitment to improving the UK’s infrastructure. Having been involved in the first Crossrail project it is clear to see how any major project can boost UK businesses and drive the construction industry, affecting manufacturers and service providers at every level.
“In addition to the revenue generated by the infrastructure projects themselves it is vital that the UK has strong transport links and energy resources to encourage investment and the development of other construction projects. A recent CBI and AECOM survey found that infrastructure was the top concern for companies trying to invest with 94% of respondents saying that infrastructure was a key deciding factor in planning their investments. As it is such a critical factor in the economic and social development of the UK, it is important that a body such as the NIC is set up to deliver long-term strategies that create the right legacy for the UK,”
Mr Osbourne supported this, adding: “My spending review will be about delivering security. British people have to spend longer than they should getting to work, pay more than they should in energy bills and can’t buy the houses they want because of the failure of successive governments to think long term. Infrastructure isn’t some obscure concept; it’s about people’s lives, economic security and the sort of country we want to live in,”
His recommendations included the establishment of a politically independent commission to look up to 30 years ahead and set infrastructure priorities accordingly.
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