As well as the National Infrastructure Strategy, the government has also published a detailed response to the National Infrastructure Commission’s (NIC) landmark assessment published in 2018. NIC chair Sir John Armitt gives his reaction.
Publication of the UK’s first ever National Infrastructure Strategy is an important moment, given the vital role infrastructure can play in supporting economic recovery and growth across the whole of UK, as well as tackling climate change. We are pleased to see the government’s strategy responds closely to our own independent assessment of the country’s infrastructure needs and how to address them.
We are particularly pleased that government has accepted the commission’s proposal for an infrastructure investment bank, to help catalyse private investment. Alongside announcements in the spending review, the strategy represents a solid down payment on a long-term fiscal commitment to infrastructure.
As government acknowledges, there are currently some missing pieces of the jigsaw when it comes to energy policy. The ten-point plan set out by the prime minister last week set out serious commitments in areas such as wind power, decarbonising heating, developing hydrogen and carbon capture and storage. We look forward to seeing detail on the delivery plans for achieving these targets in forthcoming announcements.
We welcome reform of the Treasury’s Green Book to assess investments against policy objectives. The proposed focus on investment in local infrastructure is welcome, as are intra-city budgets for mayors. However, to achieve the aim of levelling up, more long-term funding and control for cities is necessary to bring transformational urban public transport projects to places outside London.
The Commission will monitor government’s progress on delivery and very much hope this strategy marks the beginning of a renewed focus on long term infrastructure policy around which industry and investors can plan with confidence.
Sir John Armitt is the chair of the National Infrastructure Commission.