Government guarantees £33bn worth of infrastructure projects

Energy, road and rail projects worth £33 billion have passed the first hurdle in getting a Government infrastructure guarantee.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury, Danny Alexander (pictured) has announced that 40 projects are now at the stage known as prequalification, meaning that they are eligible for the UK guarantee scheme. Over half that have prequalified are energy projects, helping ensure that Britain develops a sustainable future energy supply.

The Mersey Gateway bridge is one such project that has reached this stage.

While further discussions, assessment and due diligence remain, the move could see them secure Government agreement to act as a guarantor for a project, giving private lenders confidence that they will get their money back if the project cannot pay. If the Government gave a guarantee it would be for a proportion of the capital value of the project, and the scheme is authorised to issue up to £40 billion of guarantees in total.

Of the £40 billion of guarantees available, the Government has already awarded a £75m guarantee to power plant Drax for their £700 million programme to partially convert the UK’s biggest coal power station to biomass. The power station will produce seven per cent of the UK’s electricity with the biomass conversions set to be up and running over the next three years.

Fifteen of the prequalified projects have agreed to be named, alongside Drax.

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