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Fifty year spending vision is first task for new IUK boss

The creation of a 50-year infrastructure spending vision is to be the first task for Infrastructure UK, NCE has learnt.

Partnerships UK chief executive James Stewart has moved to IUK with the job of formulating the plan. The infrastructure plan will have a five-year vision and 50-year spending programme which will be constantly revised.

Once complete IUK will then look at infrastructure markets and assess their capacity for investment. Finally, it will push cost-effective delivery, driving the government’s more for less agenda and cutting red tape.

IUK’s main brief will be working with “enablers” − bodies IUK hopes will invest cash into UK infrastructure. IUK will assess infrastructure markets, looking at their capacity for investment.

If capacity fails to meet departmental plans, then IUK can intervene to prime these markets with funds and ensure enough investment will be available. Key will be the Treasury’s Infrastructure Funding Unit (TIFU), which will be absorbed by IUK.

Closing deals

TIFU was set up a year ago to rescue stalled PFI deals and bring them to financial close. So far, it has been used to close one deal − the £3.8bn Manchester Waste PFI.

Treasury insiders cite this as a measure of TIFU’s success, as the promise of TIFU money has given banks the confi dence to invest.

Additional IUK staff will be drawn from Partnership UK’s national arm, the Treasury team used to found IUK, and the Treasury’s PFI policy team, led by former PriceWaterhouseCoopers assurance director Charles Lloyd.

IUK’s brief will cover privately and publicly funded projects, from highways to energy and telecoms.
Government departments will set investment priorities, but IUK will take the lead in areas where there is overlap − such as resilience or decarbonisation of transport.

“Government has a big role to get enablers right. Stimulus does not relate solely to public money, but also to the confidence to invest. Whether it is nuclear or off shore wind, we are looking at the macroeconomnics,” said Pearson.

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