A plan to boost infrastructure spending by issuing bonds could be part of next week’s Autumn Statement.
According to a report in the Financial Times this week, chancellor Philip Hammond could be planning to issue infrastructure bonds to private investors. The bonds would help fund infrastructure investment, which it said is central to the statement.
The article also said that a plan for some sort of infrastructure bank, to fill the post-Brexit funding gap left by the European Investment Bank, could be announced.
“There is a huge amount economically and politically riding on what the chancellor says. So far there is little idea about what the May government’s vision really is, outside of delivering Brexit. This statement is the first time that we will start to see what the government’s priorities are and what it wants to achieve,” said law firm Bircham Dyson Bell head of public affairs Stuart Thomson.
“The statement will also show us what the future prospects for the economy are. This will form the basis of all Hammond’s undoubted commitment to infrastructure projects and there will doubtless be more about housing as well, the potential great social divide of the coming years.
“Hammond needs to show how these priorities will be delivered while helping the economy around the potentially bumpy ride that is Brexit.”
When asked about the possible plans during an interview with New Civil Engineer on its half-year results, Atkins UK and Europe chief executive Nick Roberts said the government is signaling clear support for the infrastructure industry and he expected the Autumn Statement to support this.
“It’s well known that there’s plenty of capital available for investment and this could be used in a variety of forms,” he said.
He added that the industry is working to bring forward different financing of schemes, but it is “early days”.
New Civil Engineer has contacted the Treasury for a response.