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Chancellor launches permanent infrastructure commission

Date: 12 October 2016   |   Author: Daniel Puddicombe

Chancellor Phillip Hammond has relaunched a specific independent infrastructure body to "help build a bigger, better and greater Britain", this time making the body a permanent fixture within the Government.

The body - known as the National Infrastructure Commission - will be given its own budget and freedom to help plan, prioritise and invest in major projects in the future.

The body was originally established in October 2015 by former chancellor George Osborne as a non-ministerial department responsible for providing advice to the Government, but its future was uncertain following the cabinet reshuffle in the summer.

Hammond has decided to reinstate the committee thanks to the need for an independent body to guide the Government through future large-scale projects.

According to the Government, Sir John Armitt, previously chair of the Olympic Delivery Authority, has agreed to be the interim deputy chair of the commission with immediate effect. Former secretary state for transport, Lord Adonis, is currently the body's interim chairman.

A call for ideas has also been launched by the group to inform its next study (the body previously unveiled reports focusing on transport in the north and the proposed Crossrail 2 rail link in London), with the topic to be announced later this year.

Competitions will also be held to find its first permanent chair and new commissioners to boost the team.

The Government also announced that transport spending will be increased from £40bn to £61bn during this Parliament.

"Today I have set out how we are putting the National Infrastructure Commission at the very heart of our plans to ensure Britain's infrastructure is fit for the future," said Hammond. "It will independently define our long-term infrastructure needs and help prioritise, plan and ensure value for money as this investment creates a modern Britain - fit to take on the world."

"The National Infrastructure Commission was established to transform the way we plan and deliver major infrastructure projects in this country through expert analysis, long-term thinking and strategic advice," said Lord Adonis, interim chair of the National Infrastructure Commission. "Today's announcement is a big step towards providing the commission with the independence it needs to do the work. Now it is vital that we get the details right to ensure that the NIC has everything it needs to get on with the job.?"