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National Infrastructure Commission

Volume 611: debated on Thursday 19 May 2016

Yesterday, I laid the response to the National Infrastructure Commission consultation [CM 9289]. This reconfirms the Government’s plans to establish the Commission via primary legislation, and sets out a number of areas where policy has developed following public consultation.

On 5 October 2015, the Chancellor announced the creation of the National Infrastructure Commission to provide expert independent analysis of the long-term infrastructure needs of the country. The Commission has been operating in interim form since then.

The Government held a 10-week public consultation between 7 January and 17 March on the governance, structure and operation of the Commission. The public consultation attracted 136 responses, primarily from industry associations, companies, lobby groups, local authorities and research bodies. The majority were very supportive of the concept, and of the Government’s proposals for fully establishing the Commission.

The response confirms that the Commission will produce a national infrastructure assessment once in every Parliament, setting out its analysis of the UK’s infrastructure needs over a 10 to 30-year time horizon. The Commission will also examine pressing and significant infrastructure challenges in studies set by the Government. The Government will be obliged formally to respond to the Commission’s recommendations.

To fulfil its objectives, the Commission will be able to request information and analysis from Government Departments. The Commission will work within a remit to ensure that it recommends infrastructure that is sustainable and affordable and offers real economic benefits.

The Government intend to introduce legislation to place the Commission on a permanent, independent footing as soon as parliamentary time allows.

Copies of the response are available in the Vote Office, Printed Paper Office and on the website.