Prime Minister David Cameron has outlined plans to encourage pension funds to invest in the development of new infrastructure such as roads.
Speaking at the Institute of Civil Engineers in London yesterday, Mr Cameron said he would use the 'power of the state to unlock the dynamism of the market' as part of a plan to go 'much further and faster' in the financing of new infrastructure.
'Government has a duty to provide a framework in which demand can be met and which attracts investors - pensions funds and sovereign wealth funds - because they can rely upon fair returns,' he said.
'That in turn means getting regulation right, so that consumers and the taxpayer don't end up with high bills and too much of the risk,' he added.
'We are encouraging the appetite of investors - both at home and also abroad - for investment in British infrastructure, taking advantage of our stability and open markets,' Mr Cameron said, as part of an approach he said would be an alternative to 'high risk and short term' investment
UK pension funds would make the 'first wave' of £2 billion investment by 2013, he revealed, but this would be 'just a small taste of what I hope will follow if we get this right'.
Mr Cameron said the roads network was a particular area of infrastructure where pension funds could become involved.
'We need to look urgently at the options for getting large-scale private investment into the national roads network - from sovereign wealth funds, pension funds, and other investors,' he said.
'That's why I have asked the Department for Transport and the Treasury to carry out a feasibility study of new ownership and financing models for the national roads system and to report progress to me in the autumn.'