The government has announced that it will set up a new national infrastructure commission to decide on priorities for major energy and transport projects. The revelation came as part of the chancellor George Osborne’s speech at the Conservative Party conference in Manchester.He also announced that he would be restructuring pension funds to encourage them to invest in major infrastructure projects.However, the idea was originally proposed in a review of the Labour Party’s policies by Sir John Armitt, and was adopted as part of its manifesto at the General Election in May 2015.The National Infrastructure Commission will be lead by former Labour peer Lord Adonis, who will become a crossbencher to take up the role. It will be an independent body, meaning that it cannot determine government policy.It is believed that the commission will be modelled on the existing Office for Budget Responsibility, which is an independent body set up to advise the government on fiscal matters.The first potential projects that the commission will examine are rail and road connections between major northern cities, London’s transport system and upgrading the country’s energy network. It has been suggested that these could be funded by selling off government land and other assets.Reacting to the news, the Confederation of British Industry’s director-general John Cridland said: "Updating the UK's infrastructure is critical to sustainable growth and productivity, and we've long called for an independent body to assess our long-term needs."This new commission is welcome but we must not duck the important infrastructure decisions that need taking now, particularly on expanding aviation capacity in the southeast. Business will want to see a decision on airport capacity by the end of the year, in line with the government's commitment."The National Infrastructure Commission is set to report at the beginning of each Parliament to lay out which projects it feels should be prioritised.
Govt sets up infrastructure commission
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