Chancellor George Osborne has overseen the creation of a National Infrastructure Commission.
The Commission came into existence on 5th October and will supervise the spending of £100billion on roads, rail lines, energy and flood defenses. It will be headed by a team of seven Commissioners and has been tasked with putting forward full, impartial recommendations on how money should be spent on economic infrastructure at the beginning of each parliament.
The Commission’s plans will look at the infrastructure the UK might need in 30 years time. The intention is for the Commission to publish proposals after extensive public consultations and it is hoped that its plans will go some way towards helping safeguard future investment in the national economy and allowing the UK to compete with its Western European rivals.
Spending on infrastructure has fallen 5.6% since 2010 and George Osborne has previously commented that the UK’s reputation for world leading infrastructure had ‘slipped’. Currently only in existence provisionally, it is expected that the Commission will be given a statutory grounding in upcoming legislation.
Criticism of UK infrastructure spending emphasizes, amongst other things, disproportionate investment in the Greater London area.
Whatever strategies the Commission proposes, it is extremely hard to envisage it ever appeasing all sides. Many have already expressed concern that the creation of this Commission could exacerbate inequality and hamper investment in the North.
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