Osborne launches infra commission

New body to be chaired by Lord Adonis; plans for extra £5bn for projects; local authority pension funds to be combined to encourage infra investment

Chancellor George Osborne has unveiled plans to create a new National Infrastructure Commission to be headed by former Labour Transport Secretary, Lord Adonis.

In a major political coup for the Conservatives, Lord Adonis will chair the new organisation, which will be established as an independent, statutory body to advise the government on major, long-term infrastructure projects.

It is anticipated that the new body will be almost identical to the organisation developed and spearheaded by Lord Adonis during his time as shadow infrastructure minister in the run-up to this year’s General Election.

“I hope it will be possible to forge a wide measure of agreement, across society and politics, on key infrastructure requirements for the next 20-30 years, and the assessments which have underpinned them,” Lord Adonis said.

Osborne will formally unveil the new body in his speech to the Conservative Party conference later today, where he is also expected to announce plans for an extra £5bn of investment in major infrastructure projects.

Some of that cash is expected to come from local authority pension funds, with Osborne also announcing plans to create six British Wealth Funds, each controlling assets of over £25bn. They will be made up of the 89 local authority pension funds and will be encouraged to invest in infrastructure projects.

The chancellor has worked hard to increase pension fund investment in infrastructure projects, with the Pension Infrastructure Platform (PIP) set up early in the coalition’s term, which recently supported investment in the Thames Tideway Infrastructure Provider scheme.

To read more about Lord Adonis’s plans for a National Infrastructure Commission, see the March edition of Partnerships Bulletin, in which he set out his plans as part of a Roundtable event.