New Government Forum to address UK infrastructure
A new Treasury-backed forum has been launched and it is intended to speed up implementation of the National Infrastructure Plan (NIP) and cut through the uncertainty around policy, regulation and schemes such as UK Guarantees.
On Monday Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander launched the new National Infrastructure Plan Strategic Engagement Forum (NIPSEF).
The purpose of the forum is to bring together government and key representatives from all sectors of infrastructure industry to identify priority actions to speed up implementation of the NIP.
The forum is scheduled to meet at least twice in the first year. It will be formed of senior executives from infrastructure delivery, financing, asset owner and managers, as well as representatives of business end users.
It will be co-chaired by Chief secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander and a representative from the Infrastructure Alliance, which consists of the Institution of Civil Engineers, the Civil Engineering Contractors Association and the Construction Products Association, on an annual rotation.
Speaking at the launch of the NIPSEF, Alexander revealed the Treasury had received more than 50 expressions of interest so far in the UK Guarantees scheme, which will come into effect this week when the Infrastructure (Financial Assistance) Bill becomes law.
He said the guarantees would back the delivery of Crossrail trains in London and would ‘accelerate’ projects stalled due to adverse credit conditions. The government would ‘set out in due course’ the full range of projects bidding for backing, he added.
Alexander said that any project which is nationally significant, financially credible, good value for the taxpayer, dependent on the guarantee, and ready to start construction within 12 month can be discussed at The Treasury.
He stated that the government could increase the level of guarantees available through the scheme beyond the current £50bn limit.
The Chief Secretary also revealed that the conclusions of the government’s review of the controversial Private Finance Initiative would be published ‘shortly’.