Funding guarantees for 40 projects
Some 40 infrastructure projects, with a total capital value of £33 billion, have passed the first hurdle to secure Government funding guarantees, the Treasury has announced.
Around half the total value is accounted for by the £16 billion Hinkley C nuclear power plant, unveiled yesterday, but Treasury Chief Secretary Danny Alexander released a list of 15 further projects which have "prequalified" for guarantees.
More than half of those which have prequalified status are energy projects, including plants to generate electricity from biomass, waste, unconventional gas, wind and wood. Others include rail and rail developments and a gas storage facility in Northern Ireland.
Government agreement to act as guarantor for a proportion of the capital value of a project is intended to encourage private investment by providing investors with confidence that they will get their money back if the scheme does not pay. The UK Guarantee scheme is authorised to issue up to £40 billion of guarantees.
Mr Alexander said: "Getting our infrastructure right means we can be globally competitive, boost growth and create jobs across the UK. What we see today is the extent to which the Government is reaching out to help the private sector build Britain's key infrastructure.
"Having passed the first hurdle, these companies know the Government is there to help if they need it. I hope today's announcement will encourage even more businesses to consider how they can take advantage of a guarantee."
The 15 "prequalified" projects named today are:
:: A £300 million 100 MW biomass energy generation facility by Helius Energy in Avonmouth, on the Bristol Channel;
:: The £400 million Islandmagee gas storage project, which will be capable of storing up two month's worth of Northern Ireland's total gas requirement;
:: Two Intergen gas-fired power generation projects at Spalding in Lincolnshire and Gateway Energy Centre in Essex;
:: Countesswells mixed-use development of homes, business spaces and shops in Aberdeen;
:: Neart Na Gaoithe 450MW windfarm in the outer Forth Estuary;
:: Able Marine Energy Park port facility for offshore renewable energy technologies on Humberside;
:: Chinook Energy plants, producing renewable energy from waste at sites around the UK;
:: Gasrec producer of low-carbon fuel for UK commercial vehicle fleets;
:: University of Roehampton campus redevelopment in south London;
:: Tilbury Green Power 60 MW waste wood-fired power generation plant in Essex
:: Relocation of Northampton University;
:: Five Quarter Energy plant to process unconventional North Sea gas in the North East.
Prequalification status has already been announced for the Northern Line extension to the London Underground, the Mersey Gateway bridge and Hinkley C, while the Drax power station in North Yorkshire has received a guarantee. Details of other projects are not yet being released, for commercial reasons.
Labour seized on the Treasury's confirmation that the Drax project was the only scheme to have received a guarantee so far, for £75 million.
Shadow chief secretary Chris Leslie said: "After three wasted years this Government is still failing to deliver on infrastructure.
"Less than a fifth of 1% of the promised Treasury guarantees have been awarded and to just one project. And this comes after the Government's own figures showed just seven out of 576 projects in its infrastructure pipeline have been completed and 80% haven't even been started.
"At a time when we need to invest in infrastructure to create jobs and boost living standards, and strengthen our economy for the long term, this is an appalling record."
Institute of Civil Engineers director general Nick Baveystock said: "The guarantees scheme has enabled viable projects to secure finance in difficult market conditions, and is an excellent example of Government making creative use of its resources to get projects moving - so the news that further projects are eligible is welcome.
"Government should continue to provide updates on progress, and if necessary demonstrate flexibility in the criteria for accessing a guarantee to encourage other prospective applicants."