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NIC tasked with infrastructure technology study as fiscal remit set

The chancellor has called on the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) to lead a review on how new technologies can improve infrastructure productivity, while also setting the future fiscal remit for the commission.

During his Autumn Statement, Philip Hammond said the government had put infrastructure at the heart of its economic strategy, and that its long-term investment decisions will be informed by the commission, which was established last year.

In order to ensure NIC recommendations are affordable, the government has set the commission’s fiscal remit between 1% and 1.2% of GDP each year from 2020 to 2050.

Hammond added that, following a successful public call for ideas, he has asked NIC to undertake a study on how technologies can improve infrastructure productivity, “because emerging technologies have the potential to radically improve the way we manage our infrastructure”.

Responding to the announcement, the deputy chair of NIC, Sir John Armitt, said: “From electric vehicles to the Internet of Things and artificial intelligence‎, the technologies of the future could have an enormous impact on the UK’s economic infrastructure and the ways in which rely upon it.

“As new technologies develop, Britain must do everything it can to ensure that we are best placed to reap the benefits – and that includes incorporating innovative new systems and practices into the infrastructure that keeps our country moving.”

Discussing the financial remit, Sir John added that providing a clear remit and a long-term funding guideline for British infrastructure “will help the country plan for the long-term” and “deliver the systems and networks we need to compete”.

Last week, NIC published its interim report into the Cambridge-Milton Keynes-Oxford corridor, which it  called ‘a national asset’, and urged the government to bring forward £100m to ensure the Western Section of East West Rail is completed before the end of CP6.

At the dispatch box, Hammond confirmed the accelerated funding, and also announced £10m in development funding for the central section.

In his letter to NIC, the chancellor added that infrastructure technology study will run alongside the commission’s ongoing work on the Cambridge-Milton Keynes-Oxford corridor.

(Image: c. PA Images)

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Jimbo   25/11/2016 at 16:57

What is it with politicians and their blind assumption that either new technology or new operators will fix all the problems ? Even if there was a magic new technology, poor project management, poor cost control or poor labour relations would screw it up. Get the fundementals right and the flashy stuff will happen automatically.

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