Reacting to the announcement of Lord Adonis heading up the Chancellor’s new National Infrastructure Commission made at the Conservative Party Conference, Julia Evans, Chief Executive, BSRIA, said:
“This new Commission is welcome and we are pleased that this well-defined, crucial, role has been created for the construction industry, where Lord Adonis will be able to offer advice on infrastructure. The fact that it is a cross-party role is essential too.
BSRIA is encouraged that the Infrastructure Commission will initially focus on updating the energy network, as well as transport connections between cities in the north of England. It is clear that without big improvements to the UK’s construction and energy systems, Britain will grind to a halt.
However neither government or the Commission must duck the important construction decisions that need taking now. We still need to get on and build the necessary level of houses required for the UK immediately. And we hope the role will also look at the necessary skills needed within the construction industry to deliver such housing.
Mr Osborne said that:
‘It would be a disaster for this country if we stop building now’, and BSRIA wholeheartedly agrees with this comment. Updating the UK’s infrastructure is critical to sustainable growth and productivity, and we’ve long called for an independent body to assess our long-term needs.”
A former Labour transport minister and policy chief, Lord Adonis is resigning the labour whip, and will sit as a crossbencher in the Lords as he takes on his new role. He will remain a Labour Party member and will become an independent peer to take on his new role.
The Commission will start work immediately and will produce a report at the start of each five-year Parliament containing recommendations of projects. It will set out a programme of action on what the government should be building.
Funding for these projects will come from selling off land, buildings and other government assets.