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One of the most effective means by which The Infrastructure Forum develops constructive ideas for the future of the sector is through its Working Groups.  

These have been established in several policy areas, chaired by authoritative figures in the sector, allowing participants in the Forum to put forward constructive ideas and proposals on a range of detailed issues important to the health of infrastructure in the UK.




The working group, chaired by Robbie Owen of Pinsent Masons, was set up to provide the government with ideas on improving the way in which nationally significant infrastructure projects are treated by the planning system. It most recently submitted its response to the Government consultation seeking views on the details to the operational reforms which the government is looking to make to the Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects (NSIP) consenting process. There has been some progress in planning reform. Government has agreed to improve, streamline and speed up the planning regime, but it is not yet clear how quickly these reforms will be delivered. Labour plans, of which the Forum has had sight, suggest that the opposition when in government might go rather further than the present administration, along the lines of Forum recommendations.


TIF’s Energy Working Group has worked on a number of submissions examining options for the UK to meet the 2050 decarbonisation target, and how the transition to clean energy should be financed. This work continued during the second half of 2023 with a particular focus examining the future of nuclear power and carbon capture and storage networks in the UK.



In the area of taxation The Infrastructure Forum’s working group has a splendid record of success. It invented the popular Super-deduction and followed this up with a recommendation for a permanent 100% full-expensing regime for capital investment, which was also accepted by the government. Its latest initiative is to promote the idea of Infrastructure Investment Trusts, modelled on Real Estate Investment Trusts (REIT), which have proved a successful model. A number of competitor jurisdictions have built on the REIT model to support Infrastructure Investment Trusts, where tax would not be payable during the construction of projects, but only once income was being received from them. Treasury and Department for Business and Trade ministers have welcomed the initiative. The Forum’s working group met with HM Treasury and HM Revenue and Customs officials on 19 December for the initial discussion, which is being followed up as a matter of priority. The Working Group met with Lord Johnson, Minister for Investment in February 2024 to discuss the proposal. 



The Infrastructure Forum has developed an ‘infrastructure manifesto’, which aims to provide the teams developing election manifestos for the main political parties with a list of policy ideas to help to improve the delivery of infrastructure in the UK. The manifesto makes the case for increasing the role of private finance, introducing increased capital allowances, overhauling training and skills, strengthening supply chains, and reforming infrastructure planning. We are now moving to equip politicians in all the parties with these ideas, and explore with the manifesto teams how the importance of critical national infrastructure can be captured ahead of the next General Election. The early signs have been that senior and influential figures in all the parties have been receptive to them. The Forum visited Number 10 to explore its proposals in more detail in early February. 



A new initiative by The Infrastructure Forum in cooperation with Accenture is investigating the opportunity for Scaleable Infrastructure Investment which is exploring the idea of a Front End Commercial Design. The idea, set out at TIF’s recent Advisory Council meeting by Richard Postance of Accenture, is to accept in the wake of HS2 that there is always risk in infrastructure projects beyond engineering itself and that democracy will always require or create “a two-way-door.” The working group will look at how a more deliberate approach to risk in the early, delivery and tail stages of a project might replicate the success of projects like Offshore Wind and Broadband.

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