Sir John Armitt to lead NIC while Lord Adonis replacement sought

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Sir John Armitt is to temporarily lead the National Infrastructure Commission until a new chairman can be appointed to replace Lord Adonis

Sir John Armitt is to temporarily lead the NIC after Lord Adonis resigned and criticised the government’s approach to Brexit and its “bailout” of the Stagecoach/Virgin East Coast rail franchise.

Sir John is currently the NIC’s deputy chairman and has been a member of the commission since it was formed in 2015. The commission said a new chairman will be appointed “in due course”.

Later this year, the NIC will publish the first-ever National Infrastructure Assessment, which will analyse the country’s long-term economic infrastructure needs up to 2050 and set out recommendations for how they should be met.

“I would like to thank Lord Adonis for his work as chairman, leading the organisation as it examined a wide range of infrastructure issues and kick-starting the development of the UK’s first-ever National Infrastructure Assessment,” Sir John said.

“The commission has a very busy and exciting few months ahead and I look forward to continuing the work we have planned with my fellow commissioners.”

Lord Adonis quit just after Christmas, claiming ministers have “no credible plan for the future of British trade and European cooperation” after the UK leaves the EU.

He also described the decision to bailout the East Coast rail franchise, which connects London and Edinburgh, as “indefensible”, saying it will cost taxpayers millions yet only benefits “the billionaire owners of these companies and their shareholders”.

Earlier this week, transport secretary Chris Grayling said Lord Adonis had “got his facts completely wrong” about the East Coast franchise and insisted “there has been no bailout”.

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