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30.10.15

£100bn Adonis commission to help shape future infrastructure

Chancellor George Osborne’s latest infrastructure drive, spearheaded by non-executive HS2 board member Lord Adonis, is set to be launched today (30 October) matched with a £100bn funding commitment from the government.

The National Infrastructure Commission, announced earlier in October, will have a key role in identifying the value of future rail investments – including Crossrail 2 and the proposed HS3 scheme.

When he formally launches the commission today alongside Adonis at the National Railway Museum in York, the chancellor will announce its seven body members – including HS2’s design panel chair, Sadie Morgan.

Other members will include senior leaders, advisers, researchers and ministers from key bodies around England – including the president-elect of the Institute of Civil Engineers, a former member of the LSE’s Growth Commission and a former chief adviser to the Great London Authority.

Adonis said: “For Britain to get on with the job of delivering high-quality infrastructure that benefits everyone, you need more than just a commitment to invest – you need long-term forward plans and the maximum possible consensus.

“That is what the National Infrastructure Commission is here to promote.”

The commission will produce a report at the start of each five-year Parliament outlining recommendations for priority infrastructure projects.

Of their three initial focus areas, two will tackle transport, with the first focusing on northern connectivity. They will identify priorities for future investment in the north’s strategic transport infrastructure to enhance connectivity between cities – especially east-west across the Pennines.

They will also look into London’s transport system to review strategic options for the region and identify priorities for future investment in large-scale transport projects, including Crossrail 2.

The third key area will focus on energy, exploring how the UK can better balance supply and demand so market prices can be more reflective of costs to the overall system.

Osborne said: “Infrastructure isn’t some obscure concept – it’s about people’s lives, economic security and the sort of country we want to live in. That’s why I am determined to shake Britain out of its inertia on infrastructure and end the situation where we trail our rivals when it comes to building everything from the housing to the power stations that our children will need.

“At the Spending Review, I will commit to investing £100bn in infrastructure over the next five years and we are creating an independent commission to give us a long-term, unbiased analysis of the country’s major infrastructure needs.”

The massive funding pot will come from a suite of asset sales currently being identified by the Treasury, but more details of this will be announced at the Spending Review.

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