Labour Meets With Banks, Insurers to Discuss Ways to Boost Infrastructure Investment

November 21, 2023

Britain’s opposition Labour Party met bank and insurance leaders on Monday to discuss ways to boost investment in infrastructure, as it continues a charm offensive with finance bosses ahead of an expected election next year that it is favored to win.

Shadow finance minister Rachel Reeves chaired the first meeting of the so-called “British Infrastructure Council” on Monday morning, which was attended by the CEOs of several banks including HSBC’s Noel Quinn and Lloyds’ Charlie Nunn.

Other executives from finance firms including insurers M&G and Phoenix, asset manager BlackRock and lender Santander UK were also present.

Labour has sought to reassure investors and voters alike that the party, once seen by some voters as spendthrift, can be trusted with the economy. The party currently has a substantial lead over the governing Conservatives in opinion polls.

“Under the right conditions, there are significant pools of private capital available to finance investment in critical national infrastructure,” Reeves said in a statement.

The announcement comes ahead of the government’s Autumn Statement on Wednesday, when finance minister Jeremy Hunt is due to announce a further round of measures to persuade pension companies to invest in UK companies and infrastructure to boost growth and the City’s competitiveness as a financial center.

Britain, facing strapped finances and a need for huge investments to meet net zero targets, has little choice but to rely on the private sector for cash to fund such projects, whoever wins next year’s election.

(Reporting by Iain Withers and Huw Jones, editing by William Maclean)

Photograph: A train passes the construction site of the High Speed 2 (HS2) rail line at Euston station in London, on Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)