A National Transformation Fund that will invest £250bn over ten years in infrastructure is one of the lead pledges in the newly launched Labour manifesto.
A draft version of the manifesto was leaked last week, which revealed many of the policies including nationalising railways, backing HS2 and taking it into Scotland and linking it with Crossrail of the north, as well as support for Crossrail 2.
The ICE has criticised the manifesto, saying it is ”more like a series of piecemeal projects and initiatives than a thought through programme to meet national needs.”
The manifesto launched today also pledged to bring water companies into public ownership.
It said: “We will take advantage of near-record low interest rates to create a National Transformation Fund that will invest £250 billion over ten years in upgrading our economy.”
It said there would be “tight rules” to ensure investment is fairly shared around the UK.
Rail electrification was also supported, with “expansion across the whole country, including Wales and the South West.”
A Labour government would also commit to 60% of UK’s energy coming from zero carbon or renewable sources.
In terms of procurement, the manifesto said it would target gaps in supply chains and also continue the drive to tighten up payments so that they are on time.
Regarding the National Infrastructure Commission, Labour said it would be commissioned to look into the roll out of ultra high speed broadband.
In response, ICE director general Nick Baveystock said: “The UK has a hard earned and hard won global reputation as a place for investing in and delivering infrastructure. To protect that advantage we need to demonstrate long term, strategic thinking. The National Infrastructure Commission exists for this very purpose and it is disappointing that the manifesto is so vague about its future role. As it stands Labour’s proposals look more like a series of piecemeal projects and initiatives than a thought through programme to meet national needs.
“Given the scale of those needs we will have to continue to attract the majority of the investment into our infrastructure from the private sector. The whole sale change of well-established legal and regulatory models implicit in large scale nationalisation combined with a big increase in the national debt seem likely to undermine the reputation and goodwill we have spent so many years building.”