This was published alongside the Chancellors latest economic Statement (November 2020) (See link below)
It is a response by the government to the work done by the National Infrastructure Commission in assessing what the country needs.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson has written in his forward to the Strategy.
“We will build that infrastructure, and redress long-standing inequalities, particularly in transport, between different parts of the UK. In recent years, we have spent heavily on the rail and road networks of London and the southeast, whose prosperity benefits us all. The fruits of that investment - Thameslink, Crossrail, new trains on the Underground, the future Lower Thames Crossing to relieve the M25 - will serve our economic engine well for many years.
But in the period covered by this strategy, we will significantly shift spending to the regions and nations of the UK. On our major A roads and motorways, two-thirds of our upgrades are outside south-eastern England, including dualling the A303 to the south-west and completing the first trans-Pennine dual carriageway in fifty years“
Even though the infrastructure spend in the South East (excluding London) is low compared to other regions do not count on funding for needed projects?
The report also accepts the proposal to set up an Infrastructure Bank.
The government has undertaken a review of the Treasury - Green Book (which embodies the principles and rules used to assess government investment), to ensure that investment spreads opportunity across the UK. The Green Book is the government’s guidance on best-practice appraisal and is therefore a vital tool for ensuring value for money for taxpayers.
A central finding of the review is that the appraisal process often fails to properly consider how a proposal will deliver the government’s policy ambitions, including levelling up. This leads to appraisals being focused on a benefit cost ratio (BCR) that does not reflect social policy objectives or give ministers the information they need about where costs and benefits fall.
HM Treasury has therefore updated the Green Book to end the dominance of the BCR is decision making, starting with this Spending Review. Appraisals must give a comprehensive picture of cost and benefits, including non-monetisable, non-economic impacts. In particular, options will be assessed first and foremost on whether they deliver relevant policy objectives (for instance, the regeneration of a particular place). Any option which fails to do so cannot be considered value for money and will not progress to shortlisting stage.
The government is also changing the guidance so it will no longer be acceptable for proposals to be ‘place blind’. Business cases should be developed to align with relevant local strategies and major interventions in the area. And for the first time, business cases for all proposals will have to set out how they will impact different places on a comply or explain basis.
These changes will be crucial to levelling up. They will mean that appraisals and advice to ministers should include much better analysis on how options deliver their policy goals, as well as which parts of the country look to gain most from them, supporting better informed decisions.
Also announced is that The Treasury will lead an expert external review on the application of the Green Book’s discount rates to environmental impacts. This will mean reassessment of how the Green Book advises valuation of the long-term benefits from policy interventions that will help to protect natural capital and preserve the world, taking into account the fact that the planet is a finite resource.
More Reports to Come
At the end of the report it details several reports due from the government.
In the next three months from November 2020:
• The Union Connectivity Review
• The Construction Playbook
• The Integrated Rail Plan
• The Energy White Paper
In the next six months from November 2020:
• The Net Zero Review final report
• The National Infrastructure and Construction Pipeline
• Transforming Infrastructure Performance 2021
• A transport decarbonisation plan
In the next twelve months from November 2020:
• The English Devolution and Local Recovery White Paper
• An electric vehicle charging infrastructure strategy
• A heat and buildings strategy
• A hydrogen strategy
• An industrial decarbonisation strategy
• A refreshed Industrial Strategy
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