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National Infrastructure Commission

Volume 615: debated on Wednesday 12 October 2016

I wish to update the House on the establishment of the National Infrastructure Commission as an Executive agency, and an associated Contingencies Fund advance.

The purpose of the National Infrastructure Commission is to provide expert, impartial analysis of the long-term infrastructure needs of the country. The Commission reports on high-priority issues and produces an in-depth, independent assessment of the UK’s major infrastructure needs on a 30-year time horizon.

The Government consulted earlier this year on establishing the Commission using primary legislation. The Government consider that the Commission can achieve the same objectives without legislation.

The Government will therefore proceed to establish the Commission on a permanent basis as an Executive agency of HM Treasury. It will operate independently, at arm’s length from Government, and will come into force in January 2017.

The resources for the operating costs of the Commission will form part of HM Treasury’s supplementary estimate 2016-17, which is not expected to receive Royal Assent in the associated Supply and Appropriations Bill until mid to late March 2017. HM Treasury will therefore be utilising the Contingencies Fund to finance the Commission’s operating costs that become payable prior to Royal Assent.

Parliamentary approval for additional resources of £5,000,000 for this new spending will be sought in a supplementary estimate for HM Treasury. Pending that approval, urgent expenditure estimated at £5,000,000 will be met by repayable cash advances from the Contingencies Fund.

A copy of the Charter for the National Infrastructure Commission has been deposited in the Libraries of both Houses.