At the Civils 2009 conference this morning, the Liberal Democrats’ Vincent Cable set out detailed proposals for a National Infrastructure Bank.
Cable said an independent National Infrastructure Bank could provide long-term investment opportunities for pension funds and individual savers, while reducing the cost of investment capital for projects through government guarantees.
Cable suggested that a National Infrastructure Bank could also be a catalyst for job creation, harnessing “masses of talent and skills”.
In his speech, Cable said the UK has one of the worst records for infrastructure investment in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), and argue that there is an urgent need for a step change in infrastructure investment.
Investment in infrastructure would create jobs, increase competitiveness, promote environmental sustainability and boost the economic recovery, he said, and the creation of a National Infrastructure Bank –leveraging public funds with private capital – is the vehicle with which to do this.
The Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE) has welcomed today’s announcement, saying the announcement represents a step forward in the debate about how to drive investment in the UK’s essential infrastructure networks. “It is essential to maintain the momentum of investment in infrastructure, and to ensure that we have the skills capacity to deliver,” an ACE statement said.