National Infrastructure Commission - A vision for the future

Chancellor George Osborne announced the creation of a National Infrastructure Commission in his speech to the Conservative Party Conference today.

Piccadilly station in Manchester. The commission will prioritise infrastructure projects such as rail links between northern cities. Image: Abhijit Tembhekar, via Wikimedia Commons
Piccadilly station in Manchester. The commission will prioritise infrastructure projects such as rail links between northern cities. Image: Abhijit Tembhekar, via Wikimedia Commons
  • Updated: 05 October, 2015
  • Author: Andrew Wescott, ICE Head of Policy

This is a cross party initiative with Lord Adonis, former Secretary of State for Transport in Tony Blair’s government and well respected infrastructure champion, announced as its chair.

The commission’s immediate priorities are:

  • To transform the connectivity of the northern cities
  • To identify future large-scale investment in London’s public transport infrastructure
  • To ensure investment in energy infrastructure can meet future demand in the most efficient way

The Commission will publish advice to the government on these issues before next year’s Budget. It will also begin work on a national infrastructure assessment, looking ahead to requirements for the next 30 years.

The idea of a commission has long been discussed by ICE and experts across industry. Incoming ICE President Sir John Armitt published his independent review on infrastructure, which laid the groundwork for today’s announcement. Lord Adonis was part of that review.

Role of the commission

Until it receives Parliamentary approval the commission will operate on an interim basis. Once it is put into statute it will report to Parliament on national infrastructure needs, setting out what a government is expected to do over the next five years. The government will be obliged to respond to its recommendations, either accepting them or setting out how the government will develop alternatives.

It will consult broadly and will emphasise the importance of affordability for the tax payer and consumer. This formed a central message in ICE’s State of the Nation 2014 Infrastructure report.

ICE will continue its work with Government to help form the remit and structure of the commission as well as contributing to the evidence base of the needs assessment.

Top