Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Reeves convenes new British infrastructure council

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Shadow chancellor Rachel Reeves has convened a new British infrastructure council with a group of major companies as Labour seeks to burnish its pro-business credentials.

Bosses from Lloyds, HSBC, Santander UK, Phoenix, Fidelity and US firm BlackRock are among members of the body, all acting in an independent advisory capacity.

The shadow chancellor said “winning the global competition” to attract investment will require “new models of collaboration between government and investors” as she chaired the council’s first meeting in the City of London.

Under the right conditions, there are significant pools of private capital available to finance investment in critical national infrastructure, such as clean energy, transport and digital connectivity – all of which will serve to boost growth, raise productivity and create jobs

Rachel Reeves

It comes as Prime Minister Rishi Sunak hinted at business tax cuts to boost economic growth in a speech earlier on Monday before the autumn statement later this week.

The prospect of giveaways comes ahead of a general election expected next year and with the Tories seeking a boost to turn around opinion polls which have shown consistent Labour leads.

Mr Sunak has met his own pledge of halving inflation in 2023 and said any tax cuts would come off the back of that, delivered “carefully and sustainably.”

Labour said the first meeting of the council had focused on “the potential for new financing mechanisms for infrastructure that can deliver viable investment models” and “how to ensure potential investors can better understand the Government’s strategic priorities for nationally significant infrastructure.”

“Under the right conditions, there are significant pools of private capital available to finance investment in critical national infrastructure, such as clean energy, transport and digital connectivity – all of which will serve to boost growth, raise productivity and create jobs,” Ms Reeves said.

“But winning the global competition to attract it will require new models of collaboration between government and investors. The creation of the new British Infrastructure Council will help to achieve that.”

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