Treasury to underwrite £40bn of investment in infrastructure

Ben Southwood
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THE TREASURY today revealed plans to underwrite infrastructure investment and subsidise exports, in an attempt to buttress the faltering economy.

UK Guarantees, as the plans are together known, will guarantee up to £40bn of “nearly ready” infrastructure projects, support up to £5bn of loans to export customers, and ensure the progression of around £6bn worth of public-private partnerships.

“The credibility the government has earned through tackling the deficit is already helping millions of British families and businesses through keeping down the cost of borrowing,” claimed chancellor George Osborne.

Investment projects eligible for guarantee by the state will have to meet five key criteria, including readiness to begin within 12 months, national significance, financial credibility, the necessity of a guarantee, and value to the taxpayer.

Chief secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said: “The measures we’re announcing today will help work get started on many important infrastructure projects and help our major exporters, providing lasting benefits for thousands of people and a significant boost to the economy.”

Analysts have questioned whether such a scheme can claim to offer low-risk loans with the condition that recipients require them to proceed with their projects.