UK Infrastructure Bank HQ launches in Yorkshire

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has opened the new UK Infrastructure Bank at its HQ in Leeds to support local growth and tackle climate change.

It will ultimately employ 200 people and be tasked with accelerating investment into ambitious infrastructure projects, cutting emissions and levelling up every part of the UK.

First announced by the Chancellor alongside the Spending Review, the Bank will help to finance important projects in every region and nation of the UK in sectors including clean energy, transport, digital, water and waste.

Sunak said: “The UK Infrastructure Bank will accelerate our ambitions for tackling climate change and levelling up, while creating new opportunities across the UK as part of our Plan for Jobs.

“Through the bank, we are investing billions of pounds in world class infrastructure that will support people, businesses and communities in every corner of the UK.”

The bank will have an initial £12bn of capital to deploy and will be able to issue £10bn of Government guarantees, helping to unlock more than £40bn of overall investment.

Rishi Sunak (Credit: Flickr / HM Treasury)

Sunak yesterday marked the bank’s opening with a visit to its new office at The Embankment on the River Aire in Leeds, where he met senior leadership including the bank’s chairman, Chris Grigg, and hosted a roundtable with local infrastructure and business leaders.

Grigg, said: “I am delighted to be leading this institution, which will be a catalyst for investment to support regional economic growth and net zero ambitions.

“I look forward to building strong partnerships with project sponsors, institutions and local leaders.”

Sir Roger Marsh, chairman of Leeds City Region Enterprise Partnership & 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.

“It will build on our long-term commitment to ensuring that the benefits of economic growth are felt by all of our communities.

“This landmark decision is testament to the strength of our financial and professional services sector and will ensure a strong and successful long-term economic outlook for the city region, the North and the UK.

“It will act as a catalyst to inspire economic growth and business confidence at a time when it is needed most and it is pleasing that it will be operating from Leeds.

“The move also signifies a new page in the relationship between the government and cities and regions across the North, where we work in partnership to unlock economic potential and deliver on the ambitions for levelling-up all parts of the country.”

Tom Riordan, chief executive of Leeds City Council, added: “Since the brilliant news about Leeds being the home of the UK Infrastructure Bank we’ve been busy working with Bank and Treasury colleagues to give them a warm welcome to the city.

“This launch is a positive signal that the bank is moving at pace and there is a strong fit with plans for investment in clean energy, transport and housing in Leeds and the North.”

Amanda Beresford, president of the Leeds Chamber of Commerce and planning partner at Schofield Sweeney, said: “The aims and objectives of the UK Infrastructure Bank align very closely with the Chamber’s own; we know that in order to meet ambitious environmental targets we must invest now to create the infrastructure, jobs, skills and technologies to make this happen.

“The UK Infrastructure Bank will be in good company, joining a host of other organisations which have made the decision to locate in Leeds including the Bank of England and Channel 4; we believe strongly that access to regional perspectives will help enormously with the government’s ambitions to level up the UK economy.”

The bank’s £22bn of financial capacity will consist of £5bn of equity, £7bn of debt, and £10bn of guarantees. It is part of the Government’s plan to deliver over £600bn in gross public sector investment over the next five years.

The bank is now able to issue loans, equity, or guarantees to private projects. It will start lending to local authorities later in the summer.