The Infrastructure (Financial Assistance) Bill, which will enable the Government to guarantee up to £40 billion of investment in infrastructure, and up to £10 billion of new homes, today received Royal Assent.
The Bill has now become an Act of Parliament and will be known as the Infrastructure (Financial Assistance) Act. It passed through Parliament in just 55 days and will enable the Government to underwrite major infrastructure projects under the UK Guarantees scheme. Since the launch of the scheme in July, over 60 projects have come forward for discussions with the Treasury.
The Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander, said:
Securing Royal Assent just three months after the launch of the UK Guarantee scheme shows that we are getting on with delivering the vital infrastructure that the country needs to boost growth.
Since July we’ve had significant interest from industry, and passed the legislation to make the scheme a reality. We can now get on with the search for eligible projects, and I hope today’s progress will encourage project sponsors to come forward to see how they can take advantage of the strength of the UK’s balance sheet by taking up a guarantee.
UK Guarantees takes advantage of the Government’s fiscal credibility to provide guarantees for major infrastructure projects that may struggle due to adverse credit conditions. The offer of guarantees will be awarded on a case by case basis and will be subject to due diligence and Parliamentary approval processes, and a commercial fee will be charged for any guarantee.
Notes for editors
The Government launched the UK Guarantees scheme on 18 July 2012 to dramatically accelerate major infrastructure investment.
The Infrastructure (Financial Assistance) Act authorises HM Treasury or a Secretary of State (with HM Treasury’s consent) to incur expenditure in relation to the provision of guarantees and other suitable forms of financial assistance. Statutory authority for such expenditure is required in accordance with the Concordat of 1932 between the Government and the Public Accounts Committee.
The National Infrastructure Plan 2011 set out a comprehensive strategy for meeting the infrastructure needs of the UK economy, including setting out a clear pipeline of 500 infrastructure projects. Up to £40 billion worth of projects identified in the pipeline will be eligible to apply.
Further information on the housing guarantees scheme can be found on the housing section (opens in new browser window).