Chancellor Rishi Sunak has opened the new UK Infrastructure Bank today to support local growth and tackling climate change, with the Railway Industry Association (RIA) welcoming the opportunities it would bring for rail infrastructure projects.
Headquartered in Leeds, the UK Infrastructure Bank will be tasked with accelerating investment into ambitious infrastructure projects, cutting emissions and levelling up each part of the UK.
The UK Infrastructure Bank will have an initial £12bn of capital to deploy and will be able to issue £10bn of government guarantees, helping to unlock more than £40bn of overall investment.
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rishi Sunak said: “Opening its doors today, the UK Infrastructure Bank will accelerate our ambitions for tackling climate change and levelling up, while creating new opportunities across the UK as part of our Plan for Jobs.
“Through the Bank, we are investing billions of pounds in world class infrastructure that will support people, businesses and communities in every corner of the UK.”
In response to the opening of the infrastructure bank, Darren Caplan, RIA’s Chief Executive, said: “It’s great to see the new UK Infrastructure Bank set up in Leeds today, which will be vital in supporting infrastructure across the UK, including for rail projects.
“The railway industry looks forward to working with the Bank, to generate a rail-led recovery post-pandemic, with rail investment creating jobs and economic growth across the UK.
“Interestingly, the Bank’s location in Leeds would mean it would be one of the many beneficiaries – alongside communities across the UK – of HS2 being delivered in full, with the Eastern Leg connecting Birmingham to Leeds.
“So, we continue to urge the Government to publish the Integrated Rail Plan and give the green light to the Eastern Leg, unlocking the full connectivity and economic benefits HS2 provides.”
The UK Infrastructure Bank was first announced by Mr Sunak during the Spending Review.
It will finance important projects in every region and devolved nation of the UK, in sectors including clean energy, transport, digital, water and waste. A number of these areas will extend to funding for key rail projects across the network.