Infrastructure bill heads to Lords

16 October 2012 MPs have passed the government’s Infrastructure (Financial Assistance) Bill, which covers the use of UK Guarantees, and it will now head to the House of Lords for further debate.
The bill was read for the third time in the Commons following debate by MPs, with two amendments being voted down – one seeking greater rigour on the due diligence of projects and one demanding assurances that the money would only be spent on UK infrastructure, and not to bankroll foreign schemes.

However, many MPs were critical of the lack of time given to debating the bill, with only two hours allowed for the committee stage ahead of the third reading.

“In our view it is unsatisfactory to leave the rules governing £50bn of public expenditure to such scant and inadequate scrutiny,” said Chris Leslie, shadow chief secretary to the Treasury.

Shadow health secretary John Healey argued that the committee stage should have been given more time in order to take evidence from those “who will have to finance, plan, deliver and make decisions about the big infrastructure projects that our country needs”.

“That would not have held the government up for long, but it would have made the bill and the debate on it a great deal better,” he added.

Conservative backbencher John Redwood also criticised the lack of detail contained in the bill. “We are discussing a set of very different projects and we are not sure what we are talking about because the bill is very generic and general,” he said.

The bill will now move to the House of Lords, where it will be debated before returning to the Commons for any amendments to be further considered.

For more on the progress of the UK Guarantees initiative, see the upcoming issue of Partnerships Bulletin, which includes a Big Question with Infrastructure UK's Doug Segars following our event hosted by Stephenson Harwood.

This page was last updated on:
24 July 2015.

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