Right Hon Lord Adonis and George Osborne
Chancellor George Osborne officially unveiled the National Infrastructure Commission to recommend how vital projects such as roads, railways and homes can get off the ground quickly.
George Osborne: 'Disaster' to stop building
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.
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Led by former Transport Secretary Lord Adonis, the commission will be politically neutral and will produce a report at the start of each Parliament detailing the construction work that should be prioritised.
It will also be able to hold ministers to account if they fail to follow up on its proposals.
LR Sadie Morgan, George Osborne, Lord Adonis and Lord Heseltine, speaking at the National Railway Museum.
In a speech at the National Railway Museum in York, Mr Osborne announced that infrastructure plays a central part in people’s lives.
“Infrastructure isn’t some obscure concept - it’s about people’s lives, economic security and the sort of country we want to live in,” he said.
“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.”
To begin with, the commission’s focus will be on transport infrastructure of the North, energy and large-scale transport projects in London, including Crossrail 2.
Alongside Lord Adonis, the body will have seven commissioners, including former deputy prime minister Lord Heseltine and former chair of the Olympic Delivery Authority Sir John Armitt.[pictured below]
The commissioners 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
Its initial focus will be in three key areas. These are:
- northern connectivity, particularly identifying priorities for future investment in the North’s strategic transport infrastructure to improve connectivity between cities, especially east-west across the Pennines
- London’s transport system, particularly reviewing strategic options and identifying priorities for future investment in large scale transport improvements – on road, rail and underground – including Crossrail 2
- energy, particularly 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
It will be raised through the sale of assets set to be confirmed as part of Mr Osborne’s forthcoming spending review.
Lord Adonis said: “For Britain to get on with the job of delivering high-quality infrastructure that benefits everyone, you need more than just a commitment to invest - you need long-term forward plans and the maximum possible consensus.
“That is what the National Infrastructure Commission is here to promote.”
Gillian Econopouly, CITB Head of Policy and Research, said: “The announcement of a new National Infrastructure Commission is an opportunity to ensure vital infrastructure projects in the UK are prioritised and delivered.
"The challenge is to find and develop skilled workers for these projects. We are working with industry and Government to tackle this issue head-on. That’s why Go Construct, an industry-led web portal, was launched last month, to showcase the wide range of opportunities available in construction.”
National Infrastructure Commission: terms of reference PDF doc more detail here
National Infrastructure Commission