Last week Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne announced that the Government is committing £100bn to develop infrastructure across the UK in the latest of a series of plans to get Britain building.
The funds will be spent over the next five years and will be raised through a series of asset sales. Of the £100bn pledged for infrastructure development £15bn is dedicated to the road investment strategy, which will provide an additional 1,300 miles of new lanes and improve 200 sections of the road network for cyclists.
At a press conference at the National Railway Museum in York Osborne said that infrastructure was imperative to economic security and that he aimed to “end the situation where we trail our rivals when it comes to building everything from the housing to the power stations that our children will need”.
Osborne’s comments came a week after a landmark deal to build Hinkley Point C, the UK’s first nuclear power station in 20 years. The deal was reached between energy company EDF and the China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) during a visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping to the UK. Ashurst, Herbert Smith Freehills and Clifford Chance all won major roles advising on the deal.
The pledge is the latest government plan to promote the development of the UK’s infrastructure. Many projects have also received backing in the form of the government guarantee scheme, which protects investors by making sure they are paid all interest and principal due to them. Hinkley Point and the Thames Tideway Tunnel have both received backing through the scheme.
On top of the £100bn spending pledge the Government has also launched the National Infrastructure Commission. The commission will be an independent body charged with determining Britain’s infrastructure priorities at the start of each five-year Parliament.
The first of the NIC’s priorities is to improve the connectivity between northern cities, which will be vital for the Government in its attempts to create a northern powerhouse. Transport in the region is particularly important in attracting businesses and foreign investors to the region due to the large distances between the cities currently being marketed as one 10 million-strong workforce.
In a similar vein the NIC has also identified London’s transport system as a key priority and wishes to see more investment in large-scale transport links, such as Cross Rail 2.
The third priority is to improve the balance of supply and demand in the UK’s energy market. The aim is to create a market where prices are reflective of the costs in the system. In reality this could lead to more power stations being built in a similar fashion as Hinkley Point C.
Former Cabinet minister Lord Adonis will lead the commission, which will also include former deputy Prime Minister Lord Heseltine, Sir John Armitt and professor Tim Besley among others.
The full details of the infrastructure spending will be outlined within the Government’s Spending Review, which will be announced on the 25 November at the same time as the Autumn Statement.
Deal one: DLA Piper advised Market Tech Holdings on the acquisition of 49 Chalk Farm Road in Camden.
Market Tech Holdings owns around 14 acres of land in the Camden area, including Camden Market. The latest acquisition has seen the company purchase the freehold of 49 Chalk Farm Road, which includes music venue The Barfly, for £5.2m.
Real estate partner Paul Jayson led DLA’s team and was assisted by associate Josh Warner.
Deal two: Olswang has advised Tristan Capital Partners and STAM Europe during the sale of the PariSquare building to Oxford Properties. The sale is set to be completed before the end of the year and is expected to be sold for €250m (£178m).
The building is located in Paris’ Bastille district and was reopened by Tristan and Stam in October 2014. Before opening the office space underwent significant redevelopment worth around €100m, which included the conversion of a former car park.
Emeline Peltier led the Olswang team, assisted by associate Philippe Johnston.
Canadian company Oxford properties was advised by Lacourte Raquin Tatar real estate lawyer Cyrille Bailly and Bredin Prat tax partner Julien Gayral.