The Deputy Prime Minister has promised to ‘ramp up the sales pitch’ to investors at home and abroad

Nick Clegg has used a speech at the London School of Economics to outline the Coalition’s commitment to infrastructure, promising “a gear shift in government to unblock the system and get the money out the door”.

The Deputy Prime Minister said on Wednesday that the Government will focus on “investments that transform growth potential”, citing transport, energy, and digital communications as key sectors.

Pledging to start “ramping up our sales pitch” in pursuit of investment, Clegg said the government would prioritise 40 key infrastructure projects including Crossrail and improvements to the M1 and M25 motorways.

He admitted that the government has tended to focus on specific infrastructure projects rather than setting out an overall vision, and said investors have hesitated to commit financially because they didn’t see a long-term strategy.  

“I’ve asked Lord Green to use his Trade and Investment Committee to get our plan out there. Next week, Lord Sassoon will travel to Canada to pitch to pension fund investors. Later this month, Lord Green will do the same to leaders of the Gulf Sovereign Wealth Funds.

“We’re targeting the Middle East, Latin America and China, where there are investors with five year investment plans of over £150bn each. We’re also going to be much more proactive with institutional investors here at home too.”

The Regional Growth Fund, chaired by Michael Heseltine, has been ordered to prioritise infrastructure projects when reviewing bids for its second round of funding.

Local communities could also soon get more control over their long-term infrastructure investment, as transport secretary Philip Hammond plans to give them more power over the funding and decisions for transport schemes.

The Government is also drawing up plans which would let councils borrow against future growth from locally raised business rates.