UK to merge local pension funds and invest in infra

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UK to merge local pension funds and invest in infra

The government of UK has announced a four-point plan that includes the merger of local pension funds and new investments in infrastructure.

First, planning rules on brownfield sites are being removed to free up land for development, the housing budget directed towards new 'low cost homes for sale' for first-time buyers and housing association tenants given the right-to-buy to increase home ownership and construction.

Second, the existing 89 Local Authority pension funds will be pooled into half a dozen British Wealth Funds, each with assets of over £25 billion. This step will save millions of pounds every year in costs and fees. The new funds will develop the expertise to invest in infrastructure.

Third, the government will bring forward sales of land, buildings and other assets the government bought or built, raising up to £5 billion over the course of this Parliament. The funds from these sales will be recycled to help fund new infrastructure projects.

Fourth, a new independent National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) was created on 5 October 2015. It will be charged with offering unbiased analysis of the UK's long-term infrastructure needs. The NIC will begin work immediately. Lord Andrew Adonis will lead the Commission as its first chairman.

The NIC will provide an assessment of the UK's infrastructure needs every 5 years, looking 30 years ahead and examining the evidence across all key sectors of economic infrastructure, including energy, roads, rail transport, ports and airports, water supply, waste, flood defences, digital and broadband.

Commenting on the National Infrastructure Commission the Chancellor said:

"The Commission will calmly and dispassionately assess the future infrastructure needs of the country and it will hold any government's feet to the fire if it fails to deliver. I am delighted that the former Cabinet Minister and Transport Secretary Andrew Adonis has agreed to be the Commission's first Chair and help us create Britain's plan for the future."

Lord Adonis said:

"Without big improvements to its transport and energy systems, Britain will grind to a halt. I look forward to establishing the National Infrastructure Commission as an independent body able to advise government and Parliament on priorities. Major infrastructure projects like Crossrail and major new power stations span governments and parliaments. I hope it will be possible to forge a wide measure of agreement, across society and politics, on key infrastructure requirements for the next 20 to 30 years and the assessments which have underpinned them. I will sit on the crossbenches in the House of Lords while chairing the NIC, to underpin its independent status."

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