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The Somerset Guardian, 2nd November 2022

Recently, the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, James Cartlidge, wrote to all Members of Parliament as regards the Second Reading of the UK Infrastructure Bank Bill, which will ensure that the necessary powers are established to both support regional and economic growth and to tackle climate change.

Launched in June 2021, the Bank is already providing leadership across different sectors helping to level up across regions of the UK. It has £22 billion of capital available to offer a range of financial tools and to date it has undertaken ten major deals pertaining to green transport, renewable energy and digital infrastructure.

The Bill contains measures in three main areas: financial assistance; objectives and functions and governance.

The first aspect has provisions meaning that the Bank can lend to both the public and private sector. It will also include the power to lend to local authorities in the UK and Northern Ireland Executive.

The Bill will put the Bank’s objectives, functions and its definition of infrastructure into statute, which confirms its long-term focus and provides certainty for the Bank, the infrastructure finance market and its stakeholders.

Finally, authority will be established for HM Treasury to issue strategic steers and in exceptional circumstances to direct the Bank with a requirement that any such direction be made public. It will also demand statutory reviews of the Bank to be conducted every seven years following the Bill’s Royal Assent. This guarantees not only scrutiny and transparency but also that the Bank is meeting its objectives.

This innovative approach means that several policy areas are tackled collectively, a level of joined up government that is required as the needs of the country become more complex.

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