Peers have called on the government to move quickly to plug gaps in investment in UK infrastructure, including key energy projects, as a result of Brexit. Lending from major European institutions has plummeted since the referendum and article 50 was triggered, the peers said - a fall of 87% in European Investment Bank (EIB) funding and 97% in European Infrastructure Fund (EIF) funding – and the government should give serious consideration to the creation of a UK national infrastructure bank to fill the gap.
Members of the Lords EU Financial Affairs Sub-Committee said “with so little time left until Brexit, the lack of any meaningful proposals on a future relationship with the EIB or domestic alternatives is disappointing.” Baroness Falkner, the group’s chair, said “”For the last 45 years the UK has relied on the European Investment Bank to invest in all manner of vital infrastructure projects such as Crossrail, London’s ‘Super Sewer’, the expansion of Manchester’s tram network and Scotland’s Beatrice offshore windfarm.
“The UK’s infrastructure, and the industries that depend on infrastructure spending, will be hurt if the government does not quickly find a way of plugging the funding gap that will be created if access to the EIB is lost after Brexit.”
The government should consult on establishing a UK infrastructure bank. This should be explored within the Government’s infrastructure finance review and, depending on the outcome of this review, be part of its National Infrastructure Strategy, the peers said.
Peers also called on the government to explain why it had not claimed any share of the EIB’s profits, which for the UK could amount to €7.6 billion.