Private investment in UK infrastructure – and the UK itself – are currently at pivotal moments. At our Women in Infrastructure Forum, we spoke to Nicky Morgan MP, chair of the Treasury Select Committee, who hinted at the future model being considered to replace PFI, gave assurances on UK investment post-Brexit and urged businesses to be the champions of diversity.
Q: Following the UK Chancellor’s statements on ending PFI, what sort of model can the private sector expect going forwards?
NM: We asked the Chancellor about this when he came before the Treasury Select Committee and the Committee doesn’t have a view on this but what he indicated was that maybe the private sector would be more involved in the refinancing of infrastructure investment projects, rather than the initial financing. The honest truth is we are waiting to see the shape of what the Treasury proposes. The details are very sketchy at the moment and we wait to hear more. One of the bodies we scrutinise the work of is the National Infrastructure Commission so I expect this will come up before the Committee again.
Q: Will the UK be a secure place to invest post-Brexit?
NM: The UK is a very secure place to invest money. Brexit is a process rather than a one-off event but things like UK law, UK language, the time zone, the skills base we have, deep capital markets, the UK is going to remain a very strong place to invest as we build a new relationship with the EU.
Q: Is the onus more on business or government to change the culture of a gender pay gap?
NM: The onus in terms of changing culture has to be on the businesses. What the government and the Treasury Select Committee can do is we can shine a light on what businesses are doing to change cultures. We can have things like the Women in Finance Charter which the Treasury has published and is a very public commitment businesses are asked to make about their commitment to increasing the number of women in their businesses. Government can kind of nudge and the Treasury Select Committee can certainly nudge. We’ve written to businesses asking why they haven’t signed the finance charter but ultimately, it has to be for businesses and the people within them to be the champions for diversity change.