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Industry leaders urge ministers to legislate National Infrastructure Commission

Published: Thursday, 13th October 2016

Leaders in industry have written an open letter to Chancellor Philip Hammond calling for legislation to establish the National Infrastructure Commission as a statutory body…

The leaders of the Confederation of British Industry, the British Chambers of Commerce, London First and the Infrastructure Forum Advisory Council have written an open letter to Chancellor Philip Hammond calling for legislation to establish the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) as a statutory body.

The letter argued that “the Commission’s legal form will be central to ensuring its independence and credibility”.

The letter added: “The ultimate purpose of the Commission is to provide a stable vision of the UK’s infrastructure needs over the long term, well beyond the period in office of this government or the next. 

“Just as the OBR [Office for Budget Responsibility] needs statutory protection to ensure that it is properly independent of government and properly accountable to the public with the sanction of parliament, so does the commission.”

The letter pointed out that the overwhelming response to the government’s extensive consultation was in favour of the NIC becoming a statutory body, and it’s National Infrastructure Assessment being required to be laid before and voted on by parliament.

The letter urged the government to reconsider its stance “and introduce the bill promised in the Queen’s Speech in the next parliamentary session.”

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid offered no hostages to fortune when the issue was raised in the Commons on Monday during the second reading of the Neighbourhood Planning Bill.

Read the letter

Roger Milne