The UK’s first infrastructure bank, which will channel billions of pounds into big projects and help tackle climate change, will be based in Leeds.
Making the announcement in his Budget, Chancellor Rishi Sunak said it would support regional economic growth and help get rid of the North-South divide.
The bank would benefit from Leeds’ position as an established financial hub, the government said.
MPs said it was a “welcome shot in the arm” for the whole region.
Mr Sunak said he would task the bank with delivering “world-class infrastructure” by investing in sectors such as renewable energy, carbon capture, storage and transportation, and providing low-rate loans to mayors and councils to fund projects.
He said the institution’s objectives were to help deliver the UK’s commitment to reach “net zero carbon” by 2050 and to support regional and local economic growth.
Hey James, I hear the UK Infrastructure Bank is coming to Leeds. What’s that, then?
There aren’t a lot of details about its HQ at the moment. We wait to find out exactly where it will be and how many jobs there will be up here.
It’s one of those Budget announcements that might get criticised for being a nod to the North rather than sorting out traditional regional imbalances.
But that’s exactly what the government says the infrastructure bank is there to sort out.
It will partly help to replace low-cost finance we would have normally got from the EU. It will also help big projects get off the ground by offering finance to local councils.
Infrastructure has long been seen as one of the root causes of North-South imbalances. A new bank based up here might be just what we need when deciding on which projects go ahead and which don’t.
The bank will have an initial capitalisation of £12bn and is expected to support at least £40bn of investment in infrastructure projects.
It will begin operating this spring in an interim form, before ramping up its activities over the coming months.
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Councillor James Lewis, leader of Leeds City Council, said the announcement was a “vote of confidence in the city and everyone who lives here”.
He said: “As a council, we care deeply about climate change and the environment, so it is particularly exciting our city will be at the heart of projects designed to drive forward what is sometimes described as the green industrial revolution.”
Mr Lewis added that he was “determined to ensure local people reap the benefits it should bring in terms of job creation”.
Barry Sheerman MP and Kevin Hollinrake MP, co-chairs of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Yorkshire and Northern Lincolnshire, said: “It will further strengthen the city’s position as the country’s second most important national financial centre and provide a solid base for the emergence of new industries across Yorkshire and North Lincolnshire.”
Roger Marsh OBE DL, chair of Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership and the group of northern local enterprise partnerships known as NP11, said: “Locating this powerful national institution in our region will be a real catalyst for change and a major driver of our post-pandemic recovery.”
Meanwhile, Sandy Needham, chief executive of West and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce, said with Leeds being the “commercial capital of Yorkshire”, the bank would “have access to a deep pool of talent from across our region”.
Post via: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-leeds-56269234