Balls calls for infrastructure commission

Charlotte Henry
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SHADOW chancellor Ed Balls yesterday called for an independent National Infrastructure Commission, and pledged to having it in the first Queen’s speech if Labour win in May.

The chair of the new commission would be appointed on a cross-party basis, and they would have 10 National Infrastructure Goals to be met in 10 years.

Labour had previously asked Sir John Armitt, the former chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority, to write a report on infrastructure policy, and the idea for a national commission was proposed in that.

Making the announcement at the UK Infrastructure Conference Balls said: “The commission will then ensure government comes up with credible plans to meet them – and hold ministers’ feet to the fire to deliver those plans. Infrastructure investment is vital to boosting growth and productivity in a way which raises living standards for the many, not just a few at the top.

A Conservative spokesman responded: “Labour can promise all they like. But the trust is you can only invest in infrastructure if you have a strong economy – which is what the Conservatives’ long-term economic plan is delivering.