Hunt pledges greater freedom for infra investment

Chancellor Jeremy Hunt has unveiled a package of measures aimed at boosting the UK’s financial services sector, including efforts to encourage more investment in infrastructure assets.

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Hunt has launched the new “Edinburgh reforms” of financial services, which aim to reduce regulatory burdens on the sector to allow more investment to flow.

Among the reforms are the previously planned proposals to replace the Solvency II regulations with new rules that encourage greater deployment of capital into infrastructure projects.

“We are committed to seeing financial service firms deploy more capital in productive assets such as UK infrastructure and low carbon and clean energy,” the Treasury said.

“This will be facilitated by Long-Term Asset Funds – a new type of fund structure tailored to the UK market, replacing the EU’s ineffective European Long Term Investment Fund regime, which will be repealed from the UK rulebook.”

Some of the reforms being proposed by the government seek to significantly roll back the regulations put in place in response to the financial crisis in 2008, leading to some criticism that the government is ignoring the lessons learned from that period.

However, economic secretary to the Treasury, Andrew Griffith, insisted that the changes would benefit the economy: “Our reforms deliver smarter regulation of financial services that will unlock growth and opportunity in towns and cities across the UK.”