Thursday, 9 May 2019

Infrastructure investment politics

I was interested to see a piece in City AM recently from Robert Colvile of the Centre for Policy Studies about Labour's plans for nationalisation of utilities. I'm interested in this issue as it cuts across politics and ownership, which is, obviously, right up my street. The CPS has previously issued a report containing some very large figures about the costs public ownership, authored by Daniel Mahoney.

What caught my eye in the City AM piece was this stray line:
It would also rip off the 5.8m UK pension pots that the Global Infrastructure Investment Alliance has calculated are invested in the water industry – as well as millions more in the energy grid, Royal Mail, the trains, and so on.
I am dimly aware of the GIIA due to having done some work on infrastructure investment. So I had a quick trawl of its website to see if I could find a source for this stat. That can be found here, but I also found this announcement:
  • Daniel Mahoney joins as Senior Policy and Research Adviser from one of the UK’s leading think tanks, Centre for Policy Studies (CPS). In his role as Head of Economic Research he has authored a number of reports and articles on infrastructure related topics. Prior to this role, Daniel was a senior researcher at the House of Lords and for the Global Warming Policy Foundation.
Useful to know.

Funnily enough, last month London First ran a piece attacking Labour's public ownership plans in City AM which included an interesting stat:
Pension funds have a clear stake here. There is no doubt that many UK pension pots would be affected by a proposal to renationalise on the cheap. Data from the Global Infrastructure Investor Association shows that 7.67m pension pots would be exposed to losses in sectors that could be put back into state hands under a Labour government.
And by coincidence, London First's Programme Director for Infrastructure is Daniel Mahoney.

None of this is inherently wrong. Everyone involved in policy / politics does this kind of thing to some degree. Just most of the time the links aren't quite as obvious.

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