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New infrastructure group holds first meeting with Treasury

The construction industry has today begun to lobby government on progressing major infrastructure through the new National Infrastructure Plan Strategic Engagement Forum.

Chief secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said the forum will provide an opportunity to “share insights and ideas and frankly to exchange views on what more needs to be done to deliver our National Infrastructure Plan”.

The first meeting of the forum takes place today, with chief secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander co-chairing with ACE chairman Dr Nelson Ogunshakin at the Institution of Civil Engineers.

Mr Alexander revealed the establishment of the NIPSEF at the Liberal Democrat party conference last month.

The forum will bring together representatives from the government and infrastructure industry to identify priority actions to speed up implementation of the National Infrastructure Plan and get projects moving.

Mr Alexander said: “If Britain is to become stronger and more competitive, we must dramatically improve the quality of our infrastructure. Roads, railways, energy generation and good communications are all crucial to the future of our economy.

“The coalition government has set out an ambitious agenda to transform our infrastructure – investing public funds, guaranteeing private investment, sweeping away the accumulation of barriers that the state puts in the way of projects.

“But we can only deliver the radical change we want by working in a close partnership with industry. This forum will hugely strengthen that partnership, providing an opportunity to share insights and ideas and frankly to exchange views on what more needs to be done to deliver our National Infrastructure Plan.”

NIPSEF priorities:

Monitoring progress against NIP delivery and suggesting any necessary remedial action

To ensure government is aware of industry views on NIP

To advise on barriers to the delivery of NIP and on mitigation/removal of these barriers

To disseminate the government and forum’s work to industry on the NIP

Mr Ogunshakin added: “The UK faces an historic challenge to renew and deliver new infrastructure that will enable it to compete through the 21st century. This can only be achieved through industry and government working together.

“NIPSEF brings together all of the previously disparate sides of the wider infrastructure industry at the highest level for the first time. Government has done well to bring together its different parts on infrastructure, such as through the Infrastructure Cabinet Committee, and Industry must too.”

The forum is scheduled to meet at least twice in the first year and will be formed of senior executives from infrastructure delivery, financing, asset owner and managers, as well as representatives of business end users.

The secretariat will be jointly supplied by government officials and the Infrastructure Alliance: the Association for Consultancy and Engineering (ACE), the Civil Engineering Contractors Association (CECA), the Construction Products Association (CPA) and the Institution of Civil Engineers (ICE).

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