National Infrastructure Strategy set to be delayed until after Budget
The government’s National Infrastructure Strategy is expected to be postponed until after next week’s Budget.
The delay will enable the new chancellor Rishi Sunak to refocus the strategy towards achieving a ‘net zero’ economy by 2050, after only stepping into his role last month.
The detailed plan to invest £100bn by 2050 will be key to the government’s pledge to ‘level up’ parts of the country with improved transport and digital infrastructure. The BBC reported the strategy may now be released some time before May, having first been expected last autumn.
Sunak’s predecessor Sajid Javid planned to release the document alongside March’s Budget — a timetable set out in December’s Queen’s Speech after the autumn deadline was missed, and confirmed again by Javid three weeks ago.
It is thought the delay will allow Sunak to take account of increased financial resources, and to prepare the plan more effectively given his limited time as chancellor.
Any amendments are likely to take account of the recent ruling court of appeal ruling on Heathrow, as the government has been criticised for not effectively exploring the impact of climate change on British infrastructure.
The BBC reported the strategy may also include plans for housing, and vital funding projections for transport, local growth and digital infrastructure.
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The strategy will be the government’s first formal response to the National Infrastructure Assessment, commissioned by former Prime Minister David Cameron and revealed in July 2018.
The Budget on 11 March will be the first by Sunak, following the last Budget outlined by then chancellor Philip Hammond in October 2018. A Budget under Javid last winter was delayed due to the December General Election, making this the longest period without a Budget since at least the 19th century.