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29.04.13

National Infrastructure Plan ‘not credible’ – PAC

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has raised concerns about the Government’s infrastructure strategy, particularly with doubts about the level of funding available.

The Treasury has not properly prioritised 200 key projects, the PAC report warns, and urges ministers to be realistic about the amount of investment that can be raised. The National Infrastructure Plan, launched in 2010 and updated last December, identifies £310bn of infrastructure projects, around £200bn of which is to be wholly funded by the private sector.

While PAC states that investment is crucial for economic growth, the report warns: “We are not convinced that a plan requiring £310bn of investment in infrastructure is credible given the current economic climate, the cutbacks in public finances and the difficulty in raising private finance for projects on acceptable terms.”

Committee chair Margaret Hodge MP, called the plan “simply a long list of projects requiring huge amounts of money, not a real plan with a strategic vision and clear priorities”.

The Treasury said: “We do not agree with the committee's depiction of the government's infrastructure delivery plans. Planning and delivering vital long-term infrastructure is a central economic priority.

“As well as switching billions of pounds from current to capital spending, we are also using the Government's balance sheet to provide vital funding.”

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