Armitt urges private financing clarity

National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) chair Sir John Armitt has called on the government to provide clarity around the opportunities for private financing of infrastructure.

Responding to the UK government's Budget earlier this week, Armitt welcomed much of the new investment being dedicated to infrastructure, but also said the government needs to "clarify how the new Lower Thames Crossing and improvements to the A303 will be paid for – including the opportunities for private financing, which would free up public funds for other schemes".

Chancellor Philip Hammond announced in the Budget that he was scrapping both PFI and PF2, while a line in the government's initial response to the NIC's National Infrastructure Assessment (NIA) said a review of infrastructure finance would start in late 2018.

Armitt also pointed to next year's planned Comprehensive Spending Review, which he said would be "the real test" for government, alongside Hammond's promised National Infrastructure Strategy.

“This strategy should bring together the roads funding from this Budget with longer-term funding for cities and projects like Northern Powerhouse Rail and Crossrail 2," Armitt continued. "And it should include access to full fibre broadband and greater use of renewable sources for our energy.

“Now that the Budget has been announced, I would urge Philip Hammond to use his Spending Review and the planned Strategy to implement our recommendations [in the NIA] in full.”