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Wed October 28 2020

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Government launches National Infrastructure Plan

25 Oct 10 Prime Minister David Cameron has published the UK’s first ever infrastructure plan, identifying infrastructure and investment requirements over the coming decades.

“This is incredibly exciting, and it shows how, together, we can help create the right framework for growth in which British business can thrive and compete with the rest of the world.”

He said that the immediate challenge was to rebuild the economy, creating the conditions for private enterprise to grow.  The economy had been too reliant on growth from a limited number of sectors and regions, he said, and the infrastructure investment programme would help rebalance the economy.

“Today’s plan represents a broad vision of the infrastructure investment we need to underpin the UK’s growth and retain our competitiveness. For the economy to flourish, people, goods and information must move freely. Reliable infrastructure: energy, water, transport, digital communications and waste disposal networks and facilities, are essential to achieve this.  Ensuring these networks are integrated and resilient is vital.

“We recognise the scale of the challenge and the need to encourage new sources of private sector capital.  We are targeting Government’s own investment at a series of bold and critical projects that go to the heart of this vision and support a private sector led recovery.”

In the Spending Review the Government committed more than £40 billion to infrastructure projects.  The plan includes: 

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  • Investing in a new low carbon economy –  including a Green Investment Bank, up to £1 billion for one of the world’s first commercial scale carbon capture and storage demonstration projects, and the provision of grants to increase the uptake of electric vehicles;
  • Providing the best superfast broadband in Europe by 2015 – a total of £530 million of investment over the Spending Review period;
  • Investing £30 billion in transport – including a high speed rail network, Crossrail, over £10 billion for maintenance and investment in key road and local transport schemes across the country and £14 billion of funding to Network Rail to support maintenance and investment.
  • Ensuring that the UK remains a world leader in science and research by continuing support for the highest value scientific research by maintaining a science budget of £4.6 billion, and £220 million of capital investment in the UK Centre for Medical Research and Innovation and £69 million in the Diamond Synchrotron.

Lord Sassoon continued:  “The role of the Government is clear.  It is to specify what infrastructure we need, identify the key barriers to achieving that investment and to mobilise the resources, both public and private, to make it happen.”

The Chancellor confirmed, as part of the June 2010 Budget, the establishment of Infrastructure UK (IUK), as a division of HM Treasury.  An advisory council, chaired by Paul Skinner, former chairman of Rio Tinto, has been established to provide guidance on the strategic direction and work priorities of IUK.

Mr Skinner said: “Infrastructure UK will play an active role in driving forward this agenda across Government. This initial phase of Infrastructure UK’s work has validated the proposition that infrastructure development can be an important driver of the UK’s future growth and competitiveness and that there is real value in taking an integrated, cross-sector approach“.

The Spending Review confirmed that it would prioritise economic infrastructure that supports growth, the transition to a low carbon economy and encourage private sector investment in infrastructure.

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