Chancellor unveils infrastructure body

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Posted by Finlay on 19th Oct 2016

The Chancellor Philip Hammond has announced the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) is to become an executive agency which will help plan, prioritise and ensure efficient investment. It will be given its own budget, freedom and autonomy, which is set out in a charter detailing the government’s clear commitment to its independence.

Read the National Infrastructure Commission charter.

The commission will come into force in January 2017 and Sir John Armitt has also agreed to be interim deputy chair of the NIC with immediate effect.

Sara Drake, chief executive of APM, commented:

“It is welcome that the Government has clarified the status of the National Infrastructure Commission, which has been the subject of speculation since George Osborne’s departure from the Treasury.

“The downgrading of the Commission from Mr Osborne’s proposed statutory body to an Executive Agency must not lead to a reduction in its independence or the freedom for officials to make the best case for infrastructure investment.

“We will work with the Commission to ensure that the importance of project management in delivering infrastructure is clearly understood. The UK relies on project managers to make infrastructure happen.”

The Chancellor is kick-starting discussions so stakeholders can have a say in how to ensure Britain’s infrastructure is fit for the future. A call for ideas has been launched to inform the commission’s next in-depth study, following successful reports which identified the benefits of Crossrail 2, transforming Northern connectivity and smart power. The next study is set to be announced later in the year.

National Infrastructure Commission specific studies: call for ideas

An open competition will also now be held to find the commission’s first permanent Chair and new additional commissioners to boost the team and take forward its work.

Today’s announcement builds on the commitment of some £100 billion of investment in infrastructure during this Parliament – which includes the greatest transport improvements in a generation as spending will be increased from £40 billion to £61 billion.

Chancellor Philip Hammond said:

We are determined to build a bigger, better, Greater Britain – a country that works for everyone.

Today I have set out how we are putting the National Infrastructure Commission at the very heart of our plans to ensure Britain’s infrastructure is fit for the future.

It will independently define our long-term infrastructure needs and help prioritise, plan and ensure value for money as this investment creates a modern Britain - fit to take on the world.

Lord Adonis, interim chair of the National Infrastructure Commission, said,

The National Infrastructure Commission was established to transform the way we plan and deliver major infrastructure projects in this country through expert analysis, long-term thinking and strategic advice. Today’s announcement is a big step towards providing the commission with the independence it needs to do the work. Now it is vital that we get the details right to ensure that the NIC has everything it needs to get on with the job.‎

Sir John Armitt is a world leading figure in the delivery of major infrastructure projects. From his successful tenure as chief executive of Network Rail to his leading role in delivering the infrastructure behind the London 2012 Olympic Games he will bring a wealth of knowledge to the role from a stellar career.

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