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ICE attends first UK Infrastructure Bank Westminster event

23 February 2024
ICE attends first UK Infrastructure Bank Westminster event
The UK Infrastructure Bank hosted an event at Westminster on 21 February. Image credit: Shutterstock

ICE director of policy Chris Richards attended a Westminster event hosted by the UK Infrastructure Bank (UKIB) on Wednesday 21 February.

Seven years after the ICE first recommended the bank’s creation, guests gathered to hear how infrastructure investment can drive growth and opportunity in the UK.

Government and industry stakeholders were in attendance, as well as clients from a range of sectors that have benefited from UKIB finance.

They heard from UKIB CEO John Flint, chair Chris Grigg, and APPGI chair Andrew Jones MP about the important connections the bank builds between local governments and the private sector.

Why this is important

In 2017, following the UK’s exit from the European Union, the ICE first recommended the creation of a domestic finance institution to replace membership of the European Investment Bank (EIB).

In 2019, in our response to the Treasury and Infrastructure Project Authority (IPA) finance review, the ICE again made the case for a UK bank to support infrastructure investment.

The UK government announced the creation of a UK Infrastructure Bank in 2020 and founded it in 2021.

In May 2021, the ICE welcomed Chris Grigg to a presidential roundtable to discuss the new bank's scope and priorities.

The bank continued to refine its emerging thinking, with an initial strategic plan published in June 2022.

This was a major policy recommendation for the ICE and has since delivered substantial impact. The parliamentary event demonstrated examples of how the UKIB is:

  • Encouraging private investment in net zero
  • Supporting regional and local growth
  • Funding projects that use new technologies
  • Moving quickly to invest in nature-based solutions

The future of the UK Infrastructure Bank

In January 2023, a UK Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report assessed the UKIB’s initial performance.

Cautioning that the bank’s rapid implementation, while commendable, created considerable risks, the report made recommendations to strengthen its independence and operations.

The ICE recommended changes to guide the bank’s priorities and allow it to make more effective decisions.

The UK Infrastructure Bank Act became law in March 2023, giving it formal operational independence and setting clear objectives and accountability structures.

The Bank’s current strategic priorities are:

  • Short-duration energy storage
  • Hydrogen
  • Carbon capture, usage, and storage (CCUS)
  • Electric vehicle (EV) charging
  • Zero-emission buses
  • Heat networks
  • Port infrastructure for floating offshore wind
  • Ben Gosling, speechwriter and policy content manager at ICE