National Infrastructure Commission

Chancellor George Osborne has announced £100bn of spending in this Parliament for new roads, rail, flood defences and other vital projects. Launching the new National Infrastructure Commission, led by former Cabinet minister, Lord Adonis, the Chancellor said infrastructure will be at the heart of next month’s Spending Review. In his statement, he pledged £100bn in infrastructure spending by 2020, including full funding for the £15bn Roads Investment Strategy. A series of asset sales which the Treasury expects to raise billions of pounds is being identified to be ploughed back into infrastructure projects.

Speaking at the National Railway Museum in York alongside Lord Adonis, the Chancellor confirmed the Commission will be made up of Lord Heseltine, Sir John Armitt (former chair of the Olympic Delivery Authority and next year’s President of the Institute of Civil Engineers), Professor Tim Besley (former member of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee and the LSE’s Growth Commission), 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 (senior adviser at Volterra and former Chief Economist and Chief Economic Adviser to the Greater London Authority) and Sir Paul Ruddock (Chairman of the Victoria & Albert Museum and the University of Oxford Endowment).

The National Infrastructure Commission is to focus on three key areas; northern connectivity, particularly identifying priorities for future investment in the north’s strategic transport infrastructure to improve connectivity between cities; London’s transport system, particularly reviewing strategic options and identifying priorities for future investment in large scale transport improvements on road, rail and underground and lastly, energy, specifically exploring how the UK can better balance supply and demand, aiming for an energy market where prices are reflective of costs to the overall system.

The Chancellor said, ‘My Spending Review will be about delivering security. 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. We need to think long-term and deliver a cross-party consensus on what we need to build. I am delighted Andrew Adonis and this world-class group of experts have agreed to come together on the National Infrastructure Commission to help us do that.’

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