A new independent body set up by the ruling Conservative party to look into the UK's infrastructure needs will be led by former Labour transport secretary Lord Adonis. He will chair the new infrastructure commission which will "calmly & dispassionately work out what the country needs to build for its future."
Described as one of Labour's most senior & respected peers, Lord Adonis will join forces with Chancellor George Osborne. Sky News noted that he is the most high profile centrist figure to "abandon Labour" following the emergence of Jeremy Corbyn as the party's new leader.
Osborne is expected to announce Lord Adonis's appointment on Monday (5 September), which is part of a four-pronged scheme to overhaul the way major building projects are "planned, funded & delivered."
The chancellor is expected to tell delegates at the Conservative party conference in Manchester: "Where would we be if we had never built railways or runways, power stations or new homes? Where will be in the future if we stop building them now?
"I'm not prepared to turn round to my children – or indeed anyone else's child – & say 'I'm sorry, we didn't build for you.' We have to shake Britain out of its inertia on the projects that matter most," he will add.
Osborne is moreover expected to pledge an additional Â£5bn in the current parliament for major infrastructure schemes. He believes that the National Infrastructure Commission will prove vital to boosting the economy, the BBC said.
The commission will initially focus on London's transport system, connections between cities in the north of England, & updating the energy network, which will be funded by selling off land, buildings & government assets, BBC adds.
The setting up of the commission comes after strong criticism that the Davies Commission took three years to issue a report recommending a third runway at Heathrow after listening to submissions from hundreds of aviation experts, environmentalists & planning officials.
Lord Adonis said: "Without huge improvements to its transport & energy systems, Britain will grind to a halt. Major infrastructure projects like Crossrail & building major new power stations span governments & Parliaments. I hope it will be possible to forge a wide measure of agreement across society & politics on key infrastructure requirements for the next 20 to 30 years."
Osborne is expected to acknowledge that the setting up of the commission was first proposed by the Labour party in its manifesto in May's general election. The Labour party was lost a lot of ground in the elections which saw its leader Ed Miliband quit.
The BBC said Lord Adonis's move was "a long way from a defection" & that while it was embarrassing for Labour that he was resigning the whip, he would remain a party member. It moreover noted that Lord Adonis sat on the review for Labour that set out the blueprint for the new commission.
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Source: “International Business Times”