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Could the new Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA) strengthen the government’s position on the delivery of major economic projects? Charlotte Morgan, partner in the global energy and infrastructure group at Linklaters, considers how the new body could affect the project finance landscape in the UK.
Two current government bodies—Infrastructure UK (IUK) and the Major Projects Authority (MPA)—are to merge, creating the new Infrastructure and Projects Authority, the Cabinet Office and HM Treasury have announced. The new body will have responsibility for managing and delivering major economic projects and will come into formal existence on 1 January 2016.
The merger of the combined IUK and MPA teams into the new IPA is intended to send a message that infrastructure is right at the heart of the government’s agenda.
The IUK team have a wealth of private sector investment experience and, importantly, finance expertise. They advise on most complex deals on the government’s to-do list. What makes it a dynamic team is its closeness to the Treasury’s spending decisions, so keeping a reporting line to the Chancellor will be vital for the new team.
The MPA team has traditionally been more focused on procurement and looking at governance, robust decision making and business case analysis—the economics of why a project may be undertaken. The MPA also oversees major projects during the delivery phase. Recently it brought in additional private sector expertise to help streamline project procurement and to focus on securing a reduction of the cost of services to the taxpayer. Under Francis Maud’s leadership it did manage to secure some short-term savings.
Announcing the merger of the two teams is aimed at giving the infrastructure project industry a boost. However, the key determinant for the success of the new combined team will be the speed with which the government can procure the big projects it needs to energise the economy
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1. Banking & finance lawyer with experience in syndicated lending and project finance in London, Paris and Sydney
2. Likes yoga, DIY (although the output doesn’t generally reflect the input) and sunny climes
3. Thinks the law is very unlike how LA Law made it look
Kate is a solicitor specialising in banking and finance with particular emphasis on syndicated lending and project finance. She has acted for both borrowers and lenders on a wide range of finance transactions, often involving multiple jurisdictions.
Kate trained and qualified in the Debt and Derivative Securities team at Allen & Overy LLP. She later joined the Banking and Finance team at Freehills (now Herbert Smith Freehills) in Sydney. Most recently, she was in the Projects and Infrastructure team at Norton Rose LLP before joining LexisNexis. Kate is dual-qualified in England and Wales and New South Wales, Australia.
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