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Chancellor Hammond stresses government backing for infrastructure body

Published: Thursday, 6th October 2016

Speaking at the Conservative Party Conference Hammond insists that the government is firmly behind the National Infrastructure Commission…

The administration is firmly behind the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC), Chancellor Philip Hammond insisted in his speech to the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham on Monday.

He told delegates ministers were keen to improve and expand the nation’s infrastructure. However, he was guarded about whether the NIC would have statutory clout.

His comments come days before MPs are due to debate the Neighbourhood Planning Bill for the first time. The legislation contains no mention of the NIC or its powers.

He told the conference: “Our stock of public infrastructure, like our roads, railways and flood defences, languishes near the bottom of the developed-countries’ league table after decades of under-investment. And our businesses, too, are not investing enough.

“We need to close that gap with careful, targeted public investment in high value infrastructure and encourage more private investment in British businesses.

“Ensuring we have world class infrastructure is vital to maintaining our competitiveness but it is a very long-term agenda. One that can be, and often has been, knocked off course by short-term political considerations.

“That’s why we announced the National Infrastructure Commission. To define independently the nation’s long-term infrastructure needs to prioritise and plan to test value for money to ensure that every penny spent on infrastructure is properly targeted to deliver maximum benefit.

“And I recommit to putting the Commission at the very heart of our plans to renew and expand Britain’s infrastructure”.

Read Philip Hammond’s speech.

Roger Milne