A sale of public assets will help raise money needed to fund major infrastructure projects

UK public assets up for sale to fund infrastructure projects

The government is identifying public assets to be sold in order to raise money to fund major infrastructure projects to be overseen by the new National Infrastructure Commission. 

UK Chancellor George Osborne said the government will reveal the list of assets to be sold on 25 November. The sale will contribute to the £100bn the Chancellor has earmarked for infrastructure investment by 2020 including £15bn committed to road projects last year.

"My spending review will be about delivering security,” Osborne said ahead of the launch of the National Infrastructure Commission today.

"British people have to spend longer than they should getting to work, pay more than they should in energy bills and can't buy the houses they want because of the failure of successive governments to think long-term.”

The National Infrastructure Commission (NIC), to be chaired by former Labour transport secretary lord Adonis, will provide analysis of the UK’s major infrastructure needs and ensure the country thinks long-term about what it needs, Osborne said.

"Infrastructure isn't some obscure concept - it's about people's lives, economic security and the sort of country we want to live in,” said Osborne. That's why I am determined to shake Britain out of its inertia on infrastructure and end the situation where we trail our rivals when it comes to building everything from the housing to the power stations that our children will need.”

The NIC was announced during the Conservative Party Conference earlier this month. In addition to the chairman Lord Adonis, former Olympic Delivery Authority head Sir John Armitt, former Tory deputy prime minister Lord Heseltine, former Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee member professor Tim Besley, artificial intelligence expert Demis Hassabis, architect Sadie Morgan, economist Bridget Rosewell and Victoria & Albert Museum chairman Sir Paul Ruddock will all sit on the Commission.

The commission's initial focus will include work on improving connectivity in northern England - a key part of the Chancellor's Northern Powerhouse agenda.

Other priorities include London's transport systems, including the proposed Crossrail 2, and energy infrastructure.

"For Britain to get on with the job of delivering high-quality infrastructure that benefits everyone, you need more than just a commitment to invest, you need long term forward plans and the maximum possible consensus,” Lord Adonis said. "That is what the National Infrastructure Commission is here to promote."

The lack of progress on critical infrastructure projects has been named among the major concerns of business leaders surveyed by the Confederation of British Industry as revealed earlier this week.

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