Use council bonds for infrastructure, top engineer urges
Margareta Pagano is a former business editor of the Independent on Sunday who now writes columns and business interviews for a range of publications, including the Independent, Independent on Sunday and London Evening Standard.
Monday 03 December 2012
The Chancellor should encourage local councils to fund new infrastructure projects by using government-backed municipal bonds, according to a top boss at CrossRail contractor URS.
Tom Bishop, chairman of the engineering giant in Europe, Middle East and Asia, said he hoped that George Osborne's Autumn Statement this week will look at alternative financial models such as municipal bonds to bolster investment in the UK's infrastructure.
"There's a lot of pent-up capital out there and investors want attractive homes for their money. Municipal bonds are used by local government in the US to great effect as they give investors a long-term return and help kick-start the local economy," he said. "In California they have been used to help finance local schools and new highways. The UK should be looking at this – as well as other mechanisms – to attract much-needed new investment."
The US group, which has its European headquarters in London, employs 3,000 people in the UK and is the largest contractor on the HS2 high-speed rail and CrossRail projects.
Mr Bishop added: "I'm looking for the Chancellor to shine a spotlight on the entire private finance initiative process. The British model has huge strengths, but we need to make it far more transparent with proper disclosure, processes, protocols and above all performance and payment criteria. Bold steps need to be taken to sell the concept more convincingly to all the stakeholders involved."
He also recommended setting up a new independent authority charged with providing proper governance over all applications of the private finance initiative (PFI) process and a better focus on explaining why the public-private partnership model can achieve the best value for funds investing in long-term projects.
City backs Osborne
George Osborne has received the thumbs-up from City investors in the run-up to Wednesday's Autumn Statement. Nearly two-thirds of leading fund managers backed the Conservatives as having the best plan for the economy, according to a survey from the spreadbetter Capital Spreads. 83 per cent believe Labour's plans are "weak", while 82 per cent made the same judgement on the Liberal Democrats, although the Coalition Government was given a pat on the back – 67 per cent approve of its attempts to tackle the economic crisis.
- 1 The BBC has just done more to eradicate ‘terrorism’ than all our wars since 9/11
- 2 Dog thinks owner is drowning in lake, dives in and tries to pull him out
- 3 Thank heavens for Louise Mensch and her foul-mouthed tweets to world leaders
- 5 Phil Neville backtracks on Tomas Rosicky 'I'd smash him' comments from Match of the Day 2
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Greece elections: Greek PM Alexis Tsipras takes aim at 'neo-liberal' Europe as country gears up for prolonged austerity battle
Auschwitz liberation 70th anniversary: Woman sent to three Nazi death camps describes surviving gas chamber
Prince Philip set to be knighted by Australia: Celebrate by reading his greatest gaffes
New York snow: Winter Storm Juno downgraded as 'one of the largest snowstorms in history' fails to show
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
Islamic history is full of free thinkers - but recent attempts to suppress critical thought are verging on the absurd
Leaked documents show Ukip leaders approve NHS privatisation once it becomes more 'acceptable to the electorate'
iJobs Money & Business
£16500 - £16640 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This fast growing Finance compa...
£30000 - £32000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...
£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This rapidly expanding business...
£25 - 28k + Bonus: Guru Careers: An In-house / Internal Recruiter is needed to...