UK government has promised funding to 40 infrastructure projects in a total value of £33bn, focusing mostly on upgrading the UK’s energy infrastructure.
The biggest portion of the funding, some £16bn will go to support the construction of the Hinkley C nuclear power plant. Apart from that, an energy plant to process unconventional North Sea gas in the North East and several projects focused on generating electricity using biomass, waste, wind or wood, are among those passing the first hurdle to secure the funding.
"Getting our infrastructure right means we can be globally competitive, boost growth and create jobs across the UK,” said Treasury Chief Secretary Danny Alexander. “What we see today is the extent to which the Government is reaching out to help the private sector build Britain's key infrastructure.”
On Monday, Alexander has released a list of further 15 projects that have prequalified for the guarantees. The government believes financial support at the early stages will encourage private investment and provide investors with confidence that they will get their money back if the scheme does not pay. The UK Guarantee scheme is authorised to issue up to £40bn of guarantees.
"Having passed the first hurdle, these companies know the Government is there to help if they need it. I hope today's announcement will encourage even more businesses to consider how they can take advantage of a guarantee," Alexander said.
Prequalification status has already been announced for the Northern Line extension to the London Underground, the Mersey Gateway bridge and Hinkley C, while the Drax power station in North Yorkshire has received a guarantee. Details of other projects are not yet being released, for commercial reasons.
Labour seized on the Treasury's confirmation that the Drax project was the only scheme to have received a guarantee so far, for GBP75 million.
Shadow chief secretary Chris Leslie said: "After three wasted years this Government is still failing to deliver on infrastructure.
"Less than a fifth of 1 per cent of the promised Treasury guarantees have been awarded and to just one project. And this comes after the Government's own figures showed just seven out of 576 projects in its infrastructure pipeline have been completed and 80 per cent haven't even been started.
"At a time when we need to invest in infrastructure to create jobs and boost living standards, and strengthen our economy for the long term, this is an appalling record."