Dismay as UK infrastructure bill dropped

By Joe Malone11 October 2016

An open letter has been sent to the UK’s Chancellor of the Exchequer after plans for the government to include a measure to establish the National Infrastructure Commission on a statutory basis were halted.

The Queen’s Speech to Parliament in May outlined that ministers would introduce a Neighbourhood Planning & Infrastructure Bill. However, the bill has since been published as just the Neighbourhood Planning Bill.

The government at the time intended that the bill would establish the National Infrastructure Commission on a statutory basis, imposing a duty on the government to issue a remit letter to the commission once in every Parliament.

The legislation would also have reformed the planning system and paved the way for privatisation of the Land Registry.

The changes to the bill have prompted an open letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer to reconsider, and introduce the bill “promised in the Queen’s Speech”.

The letter was written and signed by four people, including Richard Threlfall, chairman of The Infrastructure Forum Advisory Council; Carolyn Fairbairn, director general, Confederation of British Industry; Adam Marshall, acting director general, British Chambers of Commerce; and John Dickie, director of strategy and policy, at business membership organisation London First.

The letter outlined their “surprise” at the decision of the government to drop its plans to establish the National Infrastructure Commission as a statutory body.

It said the overwhelming response of the government’s extensive consultation was in favour of it becoming a statutory body.

It asked that the government reconsidered and introduced the bill as promised in the Queen’s Speech in the next Parliamentary Session.

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