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Armitt: Implement the NIC's £900bn infrastructure plan

Sir John Armitt has urged the government to follow through on the National Infrastructure Commission’s £900bn spending plan following this week’s Budget.

The NIC chief said the chancellor’s announcements included a “number of welcome measures for infrastructure”.

However, he called for the government to implement the advisory body’s £900bn National Infrastructure Assessment, which it unveiled in July.

Commitments should be outlined in the forthcoming National Infrastructure Strategy, Sir John added, which the government this week promised to publish next year in response to the NIA.

As well as pledging to set out this strategy in 2019, Philip Hammond used the Budget to confirm £28.8bn of spending for motorway and road improvements, as well as development funding for Northern Powerhouse Rail and East-West Rail.

However, Sir John said longer-term funding needed to be outlined within the strategy commitments.

“This strategy should bring together the roads funding from this Budget with longer-term funding for cities and projects like Northern Powerhouse Rail and Crossrail 2,” he said.

Sir John added that these longer-term funding plans had already been put forward in the National Infrastructure Assessment and called for the government to “implement our [NIC] recommendations in full”.

He urged the government to adopt NIC proposals such as improving renewable energy technologies, devolving funding and powers to cities, and developing a charging network for electrical vehicles.

The NIC chief also called for clarification on how the new Lower Thames Crossing and the A303 Stonehenge Tunnel will be funded, after the chancellor axed the PFI and PF2 models.

The two projects had previously been considered for PF2 procurement.

Sir John also pressed the government to keep pushing forward with developing infrastructure across Cambridge, Milton Keynes and Oxford.

As part of his Budget statements, Mr Hammond announced that the NIC will be conducting a study into the future resilience of the UK’s infrastructure network.

The report will be published in spring 2020.

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