Determined to “build a bigger, better, Greater Britain”, chancellor Philip Hammond has announced the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) will be an executive agency of the Treasury from January next year.
The announcement “builds on the commitment of £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,” says the chancellor, who is now inviting the public to suggest what areas of infrastructure the commission should study.
Sir John Armitt will act as interim deputy chair of the commission and while a new chair is sought, Lord Adonis will remain as interim chair.
Angus Walker, partner and head of government and infrastructure at leading law firm Bircham Dyson Bell says the move “provides reassurance that the government has not lost faith in the National Infrastructure Commission after it was announced in the Queen’s Speech but then dropped from the Neighbourhood Planning Bill.
“I hope that the charter will give it the authority to carry out its important work successfully and that its recommendations will be front and centre when the government plans for the future.”
And after the Government announced NIC’s statutory powers were being put on ice a month ago, Liz Jenkins, partner at Clyde & Co, says the announcement “will be a huge relief for the industry”.
“However, politics will clearly remain embedded in all major infrastructure decisions faced by the UK. I certainly hope there is appetite to drive forward much needed investment and growth in the UK’s infrastructure.”