The UK government’s independent advisers on national infrastructure have today (Tuesday 24 January 2023) opened an office base in Leeds.
The National Infrastructure Commission has taken space in One Embankment, the central Leeds offices which also serve as the headquarters of the UK Infrastructure Bank.
Deputy Leader of Leeds City Council Cllr Jonathan Pryor joined National Infrastructure Commission Chair Sir John Armitt and UK Infrastructure Bank Chief Executive Officer John Flint to cut a ribbon marking the official opening of the new premises.
Sir John said: “It’s great to be here. Having a team based in West Yorkshire and holding our main Commission meetings here regularly will give us a stronger sense of the infrastructure needs of this part of the country, while also enabling us to build a close working relationship with the new UK Infrastructure Bank.
“The Commission helps identify long term priorities while the Bank helps fund projects that might otherwise not secure private investment, and together we play an important role in ensuring the UK’s infrastructure is fit for the future.”
Cllr Pryor, who is also the City Council’s Executive Member for Economy, Culture and Education, said: “We are delighted the National Infrastructure Commission had chosen to locate a base in Leeds. As we are also home to the UK Infrastructure Bank, it really underlines that Leeds is the place to be for organisations looking to move North from London and the South East.
“In Leeds we care deeply about climate change and the environment, so we are excited to see recommendations come forward next year from the Commission to hopefully improve key infrastructure in Leeds and across the North, particularly our transport, energy and zero carbon infrastructure.”
John Flint, CEO of the UK Infrastructure Bank, said: “I am very pleased to welcome the National Infrastructure Commission to Leeds – given our complementary missions, this makes perfect sense. The Bank was set up to tackle climate change and boost growth across the UK, but we cannot achieve this alone, and we must work with partners in the public and private sector to deliver on our mission.”
“The NIC is one of these key partners, as we both strive to create better cleaner, greener infrastructure for everyone across the country. Leeds continues to offer a diverse range of careers across the financial sector and provides great employment opportunities for anyone wanting a career that will support the green transition.”
A small number of Commission staff will work from the new office with immediate effect, with the intention that around 40 per cent of the Commission’s secretariat will be based there in future, with others continuing to work from offices in London.
The move is part of the government’s commitment to move 22,000 civil service positions out of London and the South East by 2030, through the ‘Places for Growth’ programme.
Later this year the Commission will publish the next National Infrastructure Assessment, a major report setting out costed recommendations to government on the UK’s long term infrastructure priorities. Commissioners visited West Yorkshire in July 2022 and met with local political and business leaders to discuss the region’s aspirations for transport and energy networks, among other infrastructure, to help inform the Assessment.
The Commission proposed the establishment of a national infrastructure bank in its first National Infrastructure Assessment, published in 2018, which was a key factor in the Government establishing the UK Infrastructure Bank in Leeds in June 2021.