Government infrastructure adviser 'must be established in statute'

A call for the government to establish its advisory body the National Infrastructure Commission on a statutory footing features in today's newspaper round-up.

In a letter to the Times (subscription), signatories - including Richard Threlfall, chairman of the Infrastructure Forum Advisory Council, and Carolyn Fairbairn, director-general at the Confederation of British Industry - write: "Just as the Office for Budget Responsibility needs statutory protection to ensure that it is properly independent of government and properly accountable to the public with the sanction of parliament, so too does the commission". The government dropped plans to establish the NIC in statute earlier this year.

The Financial Times (subscription) reports that the West Midlands is "in talks to bring more of the tax money it raises as part of a second devolution deal with the government". The paper says that the leader of Birmingham City Council, John Clancy, said it was a vital step to "supercharge" the post-Brexit economy. 

The Times reports that "Boris Johnson, a strident critic of Heathrow expansion, has indicated that he will not resign if a third runway at the airport is approved." The paper says that the foreign secretary, "whose Uxbridge & South Ruislip constituency is near the airport, said when he was elected last year that he would lie down ‘in front of those bulldozers’ to prevent the construction of a third runway". But the paper says that he "has now signalled that he will not quit" if the scheme is given the final go-ahead by Prime Minister Theresa May.

The Guardian reports that "the most high-profile cabinet critics of a third runway at Heathrow" – Boris Johnson and Justine Greening – will be "unavoidably away" when the Commons votes on the issue. The paper says that Johnson and Justine Greening, the education secretary, "will quietly be given leave to miss the vote".

John Clancy will speak at the IED Annual Conference on Wednesday 23 November. Click here for more details. 

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